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Philip Goff

Philip Goff, professor of Religious Studies and American Studies, has been the director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture since 2000.

Goff’s research specialization is American religious history, with over 150 articles, reviews and scholarly papers in that area. His recent books include: Themes in Religion and American Culture, which Publisher’s Weekly described as “brilliant” and “a breath of fresh air;” The Columbia Documentary History of Religion in America Since 1945, described by American Reference Books Annual as “Welcome and much-needed … [this book] provides texture and depth to lesser-known elements of the spiritual walk;” and The Blackwell Companion to Religion in America. Currently Goff is completing books about the history of religious radio as well as an cultural biography of John Adams that emphasizes his religious life. He is also at work co-authoring a textbook with Sylvester Johnson (Northwestern University) on American religious history for Cambridge University Press.

Goff has served as a legal consultant for church-state cases, co-authored amicus briefs for cases before the Federal Supreme Court, and been an expert witness in legal cases involving religious groups. Dedicated to public teaching, he has been a scriptwriter, consultant, and interviewee for documentaries related to religion in American life for PBS, BBC, and HBO. Answering questions about religion in North America on national and international news and radio programs, as well as in national newspapers, he is recognized as a leading interpreter of religion’s role in American life. In recent years he was named to Who’s Who Among Teachers, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World.

Professor Goff obtained his bachelor’s degree at Nyack College in Religious Studies in 1986. He received his MA in Religious Studies in 1988 from the University of Kansas, where he specialized in method and theory in the study of religion. He completed a PhD in American Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1993. Later that year, he joined the Department of History at California State University, Los Angeles, where he also directed the Social Sciences Major and the Liberal Studies Program at various times. In 2000 he joined the faculty of the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, where he teaches, directs the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, and co-editors the journal Religion & American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation.

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