Josef Sorett is an Associate Professor in the Religion Department and the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University, where he also directs the Center on African-American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice (CARSS). As an interdisciplinary scholar of religion and race in the Americas, Josef employs primarily historical and literary approaches to the study of religion in black communities and cultures in the United States. His first book, Spirit in the Dark: A Religious History of Racial Aesthetics (Oxford University Press, 2016) illumines how religion has figured in debates about black art and culture across the 20th century. Josef's second book - The Holy Holy Black: The Ironies of an African American Secular - is forthcoming, also with Oxford UP. Additionally, Josef is editing an anthology tentatively titled The Sexual Politics of Black Churches.
Josef’s research has been supported with grants from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Louisville Institute for the Study of American Religion, the Fund for Theological Education (now the Forum for Theological Exploration), and Yale University’s Institute for Sacred Music, where he’ll be a senior fellow during the 2016-2017 academic year. CARSS’s work has received generous support from the Arcus, Carpenter and Ford foundations. Josef's scholarship has been published in academic journals and anthologies; and his writing and commentary have also appeared in a range of popular media outlets, including ABC News, the Huffington Post, New York Times, and the Washington Post, as well as on the BBC and NPR.