Martin E. Marty Lectureship on Religion in American Life

Generously Established by Lillian and Jon Lovelace

The Martin E. Marty Lectureship was established in 2005 in honor of Martin E. Marty, the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago Divinity School, and the author of over fifty books. Some of his best-known books are Righteous Empire, which earned a National Book Award, a multi-volume work entitled Modern American Religion, The One and the Many: America’s Search for the Common Good, and Under God, Indivisible. He has received scores of national awards and 72 honorary doctorates. The Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago was founded in1998 in his honor when he retired.

Marty is the most sought after commentator on American religious and spiritual trends in the United States. He is an ideal embodiment of what the Capps Center has as its mission – to broaden the base of public conversation about important issues beyond the walls of academia. Annual lectures cover a broad range of topics including interfaith relations in a pluralistic society, civil religion, religious influence on politics, religion and ethics, religious and spiritual trends, the United States and global religions, and other related issues.

The Marty Lectureship at UCSB has enormous visibility across the United States, partly because of the name it bears but also because of the stature of the commentators it attracts. Marty Lecturers give a public lecture in downtown Santa Barbara, which is videotaped for UCTV and shown across California and elsewhere in the country. In addition, the lecturers meet with local members of the community for extended discussion.

Martin E. Marty himself gave the inaugural lecture on April 14, 2005. His topic was “Mapping American Spiritualities.”

Subsequent lecturers:

Peter Steinfels, Columnist, The New York Times, March 19, 2006. Topic: “The Secular, the Religious, and the Demands of Citizenship.”

Rev. George Regas, Rector Emeritus of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, March 22, 2007. Topic: “A Spiritual Progressive Encounters the War Machine in America.”

Elaine Pagels, Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion, Princeton University, March 16, 2008. Topic: “The Book of Revelation: Who Wrote it and Why it Matters Now.”

Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, founder and executive director, Benetvision, April 2, 2009. Topic: “Spirituality and Culture.”

E.J. Dionne, Jr., Columnist, The Washington Post, April 20, 2010. Topic: “Are America’s Religious Wars Ending?”

Richard Rodriguez, Pulitzer Prize Nominee and George Foster Peabody Award Winner, April 21, 2011.  Topic: “The Desert and the Experience of God.”

Amy Sullivan, former senior editor at TIME Magazine and author of The Party Faithful, April 10, 2012. Topic: “Culture War Games: Religion and the 2012 Election.”

Eboo Patel, Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core and author of Acts of Faith, 
April 17, 2013. Topic: “Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America.”

Stephen Prothero, Professor in the Department of Religion at Boston University, January 26, 2013. Topic: “God is Not One: Religious Tolerance in an Age of Extremism.”

Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University, June 7, 2015. Topic: “Is The Black Church Dead?”