Vaughn A. Booker

Research Associate in Religion and African American Studies

Raised in Lansdale, PA, Vaughn received his A.B. in Religion from Dartmouth (’07), his M.Div. from Harvard, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton.  His dissertation, "'Is That Religion?' The Jazz Profession and Afro-Protestant Cultural Representation," examines intersections of racial representation and religious practice in the twentieth century through the professional and personal lives of select African American jazz musicians from the 1920s to the 1980s. Vaughn also completed a Graduate Certificate in African American Studies at Princeton.  His focus is the historical study of twentieth-century African American religions, including religion and popular music, "race histories," gender and religious leadership, visual and material culture, African American metaphysical religions, practices of memorialization and mourning, and African American religious internationalism.

Ph.D., Princeton University, 2016
M.A., Princeton University, 2013
M. Div., Harvard Divinity School, 2010
A.B., Dartmouth College, 2007

Selected publications

“Performing, Representing, and Archiving Belief: Religious Expressions among Jazz Musicians,” Religions 7 (8), 108 (2016): available

“‘An Authentic Record of My Race’: Exploring the Popular Narratives of African American Religion in the Music of Duke Ellington,” Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation 25.1 (2015): 1-36.

Review of Lerone A. Martin, Preaching on Wax: The Phonograph and the Shaping of Modern African American Religion (NYU, 2014) for Journal of Religion and Culture 25 (2015): 111-115, available

“Civil Rights Religion? Rethinking 1950s and 1960s Political Activism for African American Religious History,” Journal of Africana Religions 2.2 (2014): 211-243.

“Abraham Joshua Heschel,” “Mordecai Wyatt Johnson,” “George Dennis Sale Kelsey,” and “Benjamin Elijah Mays,” in The Martin Luther King, Jr., Encyclopedia, ed. Clayborne Carson, et al. (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2007).