Wallace Best

Hughes-Rogers Professor of Religion and African American Studies
Office Phone
131 - 1879 Hall
Office Hours

Field of Study
Religion in the Americas


Wallace Best joined the Princeton faculty in 2007 and holds appointments in the Departments of Religion and African American Studies and is a faculty affiliate of the Department of History. He also serves as Director of the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies. A scholar of African American religious history, he is the author of Passionately Human, No Less Divine: Religion and Culture in Black Chicago, 1915-1952, Princeton University Press and Langston’s Salvation: American Religion and the Bard of Harlem, New York University Press, winner of the 2018 award in “Textual Studies” from the American Academy of Religion. He is currently at work on a book entitled, The Spiritual Capital of Black America: Harlem’s World of Religion and Churches under contract with New York University Press.

Selected Publications

“Everybody Knew He Was ‘That Way’: Chicago’s Clarence H. Cobbs, American Religion, and Sexuality During the Post-World War II Period,” in The Sexual Politics of Black Churches, ed., Josef Sorett, Columbia University Press, 2022. (Winner of the 2023 Virginia Ramey Mollenkott Award)

“Battle for the Soul of a City: John Roach Straton, Harry Emerson Fosdick, and the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy in New York, 1922-1935,” Church History, vol. 90 (June 2021).

“New York City and the Production of Sacred Space,” Church History, vol. 90 (March 2021).