Randall Balmer

Randall Balmer

Ann Whitney Olin Professor
Barnard College

Randall Balmer, professor of American religious history at Barnard College, Columbia University, earned the Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1985. He has lectured at the Chautauqua Institution, the Commonwealth Club of California and the Smithsonian Associates and to audiences around the country, and he has been a visiting professor at Rutgers, Yale, Drew, Northwestern, and Princeton universities and at Union Theological Seminary, where he is also an adjunct professor. He has been a visiting professor in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a visiting professor at Yale Divinity School. 

Professor Balmer has published widely both in academic and scholarly journals and in the popular press. He is an editor for Christianity Today, his commentaries on religion in America, distributed by the New York Times Syndicate, have appeared in newspapers across the country, and one of his essays, “Adirondack Fundamentalism,” appears in the Ninth Edition of The Norton Reader. He has published opinion pieces in the Des Moines Register, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the San Diego Times-Union, the Dallas Morning News, Slate, the Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Newsday, the Albany Times-Union, the Nation and the New York Times. His first book, "A Perfect Babel of Confusion: Dutch Religion and English Culture in the Middle Colonies", won several awards, and his second book, "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America", was made into a three-part documentary for PBS. Dr. Balmer was nominated for an Emmy for his script-writing and for hosting that series. 

God in the White House

His second documentary, "Crusade: The Life of Billy Graham", was aired on PBS and also appeared in A&E’s Biography series. “In the Beginning”: The Creationist Controversy, a two-part documentary on the creation-evolution debate, was first broadcast over PBS in May 1995 and then recut and broadcast in fall 2001. 

Dr. Balmer has co-written a history of American Presbyterians, a book on mainline Protestantism, and another book, "Protestantism in America", with Lauren Winner. Other books include "Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism", published by Baylor University Press, and "Religion in Twentieth Century America", part of the Religion in American Life series, published by Oxford University Press. A spiritual memoir, "Growing Pains: Learning to Love My Father’s Faith", published by Brazos Press in 2001, was named “book of the year” (spirituality) by Christianity Today. Dr. Balmer recently completed a history of religion and the presidency entitled "God in the White House: How Faith Shapes the Presidency – from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush". It was released by HarperOne (formerly Harper San Francisco) in 2008.

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