Joshua Wright

Assistant Professor of Religion Instruction
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Dr. Joshua Wright studies the intellectual and cultural history of religion in America — especially the interplay of religion with media, art and politics. He joined the Department of Religion in 2023. His courses include Religion in America and American Jesus.

Dr. Wright is currently working on a book tentatively titled Church Carnival: Laughing at and Laughing with Religion in Modern America. It will explore how both religious Americans and skeptics — from Christian theologians and clergy to cartoonists and stand-up comics — employed humor and satire to influence public attitutes toward institutional Christianity in the 20th century.

Areas of Expertise

  • History of American Christianity
  • Religion, comedy and satire
  • Secularism and modernity
  • Religion, media and print culture


  • Ph.D., the study of religion, Harvard University, 2023
  • M.A., religious studies, University of Colorado Boulder, 2016
  • M.A.R., philosophy of religion & philosophical theology, Yale Divinity School, 2014
  • B.A., politics, philosophy and economics, The King's College, 2012

Selected Recent Presentations

  • “Jesus and Jest: Comedy and Christianity in the 1960s,” invited panel presentation, Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, Washington University in St. Louis, 2024
  • “Saint Lenny: Lenny Bruce, Countercultural Comedy, and the American Iconography of Spiritual Authenticity,” presentation at American Academy of Religion annual meeting, 2023
  • “Uncivil Irreligion: The Realist and the Satirical Attack on Mid-century ‘Judeo-Christian’ America,” presentation at Society for US Intellectual History annual meeting, 2021
  • “Satire or Sacrilege? Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Religious Dark Comedy, and the 1980s Culture Wars,” presentation at American Academy of Religion annual meeting, 2021
  • “Cartooning Religion: Underground Jesus ‘Comix,’ Satire, and the American Counterculture,” presentation at Harvard–Yale–Brown Conference in Book History, 2021

Outside the College

Dr. Wright enjoys reading fiction and literary nonfiction, going on walks with his family and doing some (very) amateur birdwatching. He is a fan of the Denver Broncos.

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Joshua Wright

Phone Number616.395.7750

Lubbers Hall Room 114 126 East 10th Street Holland, MI 49423
A map showing the location for  Joshua Wright Lubbers Hall Room 114 126 East 10th Street Holland MI 49423