Craig Prentiss, Ph.D.

Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, Department Chair of Theology and Religious Studies Theology and Religious Studies


Office: Arrupe Hall 235

B.A. 1988 Bates College
M.A. 1991 University of Chicago
Ph.D. 1997 University of Chicago

Craig Prentiss is a professor of religious studies, a Missouri native, and a graduate of Bates College in Maine. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago (1997), specializing in American religious history. He arrived at Rockhurst in 1995, and has held affiliated faculty positions with UMKC’s interdisciplinary doctoral program in religious studies, and Franklin University in Lugano, Switzerland. His research focuses primarily on the role of religion in the construction of racial and ethnic identity, and he is the author of Staging Faith: Religion and African American Theater from the Harlem Renaissance to World War II (NYU Press 2014), as well as editor of Religion and the Creation of Race and Ethnicity: An Introduction (NYU Press 2003). He also published Debating God’s Economy: Social Justice in America on the Eve of Vatican II (Penn State University Press, 2008, paperback 2013), which examines competing American Catholic conceptions of what “economic justice” should look like in the early-to-mid 20th century. Currently, Prentiss is interested in the category of “religion” and the range of ways that category has been understood since the American colonial era.


Among his courses at Rockhurst, Prentiss regularly teaches “Religion in America,” “Religion, Ethnicity and Race,” “Theories of Religion,” and “Religion in Latin America and the Caribbean.” He was awarded two grants from The National Endowment for the Humanities, including a year-long Faculty Fellowship, and a research grant from the American Academy of Religion. Prentiss was also the inaugural recipient of the Billops-Hatch Fellowship for research at Emory University’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Books Library. He is proud to be a three-time recipient of Rockhurst’s Daniel L. Brenner Award for Outstanding Faculty Scholarship, and the recipient of the "Faculty Member of the Year Award" as voted by the Rockhurst student body in 2000.