Sociologist Dr. John Schmalzbauer teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at Missouri State University, where he holds the Blanche Gorman Strong Chair in Protestant Studies.
His teaching and research focuses on the role of Protestantism in American society. He is especially interested in the role of religion in popular culture, Protestant evangelicalism, American Catholicism and the place of religion in American higher education. In recent years, his courses have focused on religion in the Ozarks.
He is the author of People of Faith: Religious Conviction in American Journalism and Higher Education (Cornell University Press, 2003). He is completing a book on the return of religion on campus with historian Kathleen Mahoney.
He is also co-investigator on the National Study of Campus Ministries, a survey of campus ministers in six denominations and two parachurch groups. His commentary and reviews have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the PBS NewsHour's Patchwork Nation Project, and Comment.
His recent publications include chapters for The New Evangelical Social Engagement, edited by Brian Steensland and Philip Goff (Oxford, 2013) and The Post-Secular in Question, edited by John Torpey, David Kyuman Kim and Jonathan VanAntwerpen (NYU Press, 2012).
Industry Expertise (2)
Areas of Expertise (8)
Princeton University: PhD, Sociology 1997
Princeton University: MA, Sociology 1992
Wheaton College: BA, Political Science 1990
Media Appearances (1)
Big Shots, Born Again
Wall Street Journal print
Once upon a time, a Protestant elite ruled America. Its members were not just any Protestants, though. They came almost exclusively from the "main line," a phrase borrowed from the affluent suburbs lining the Pennsylvania Railroad west of Philadelphia. Mainline Protestantism -- encompassing the Episcopal Church, the Congregationalists and other liberal denominations -- was far more than a cluster of churches.
Event Appearances (4)
The Unsecular Campus: The Diversification of Student Religious Life in America
Paine Lecture Series Columbia, MO
The Evolving Role of College and University Chaplaincy: Findings from a National Study
NetVUE Chaplaincy Conference Atlanta, GA
Answering Dystopia in the Baptist South
Young Scholars in the Baptist Academy Oxford, UK
Taking Stock of the Role of Digital Media in Religious Intellectual Life
Religion, Digital Media, and Possible Futures, Social Science Research Council New York, NY
Research Grants (1)
National Study of Campus Ministries grant
Lilly Endowment $123,000
Over 3 years (2004-2007).
Who are American evangelicals and how do they vote? For decades, many analysts have grouped Protestant evangelicals together in a single category. Treating evangelicalism as a monolith, they have drawn a straight line between religious and political conservatism. For ...
The university has long been perceived as one of the most secular precincts of American society. In the academy and the media, the secularization narrative dominates accounts of religion’s place in higher education.
What role does organized religion play in the life of the American campus? Among both scholarly and popular observers, the university has long been regarded as secular territory. Contrary to the secularization thesis, the history of campus religion is not a declension narrative. This essay provides an overview of the student religious landscape in America, focusing most of its attention on schools that are not affiliated with a religious tradition...
This article uses a case study of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship to explore the social engagement of campus evangelicals. It focuses on InterVarsity’s massive Urbana student missions conference, a gathering that drew 23,000 young evangelicals to St. Louis in 2006...
Within the academy and mass media, the secularization of the university remains a dominant storyline...