John Schmalzbauer

Blanche Gorman Strong Chair in Protestant Studies               

Department of Religious Studies

Missouri State University


A sociologist by training, John Schmalzbauer's research focuses on religion in popular culture, American evangelicalism, mainline Protestantism, American Catholicism, religious intellectual life, and religion in higher education. 

His book People of Faith: Religious Conviction in American Journalism and Higher Education (Cornell University Press) explores the role of religion in the careers of 40 prominent journalists and academics, including Cokie Roberts, Peter Steinfels, Kenneth Woodward, E.J. Dionne, Fred Barnes, Mary McGrory, John DiIulio, Andrew Greeley, George Marsden, and Mark Noll.

He is currently completing a book on the comeback of religion on campus, together with historian Kathleen Mahoney. This project explores the growth of the academic study of religion, the revitalization of church-related colleges, and the campus religious marketplace. He is co-investigator on the National Study of Campus Ministries.

His reviews and commentary have appeared in Religion & Politics, Comment, Religion Dispatches, the Wall Street Journal, and Books & Culture. He has also contributed to the Evangelical Studies Bulletin, the Immanent Frame, Sojourners, Patheos, Duke's Call & Response, and the PBS NewsHour's Patchwork Nation.

In recent years, his courses have explored the varieties of Ozarks religion.  Dubbed an "evangelical epicenter," the Ozarks region is home to the Assemblies of God and Wal-Mart. At the crossroads of American culture, it is also the birthplace of Langston Hughes, Thomas Hart Benton, Porter Wagoner, and Jane Grant.


A Minnesota native, Schmalzbauer is glad to be back in the Midwest.