Matthew J. Smith


Department of Religious Studies

Visiting Assistant Professor of Race and Religion

Ph.D., Northwestern University
M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary

Fields: Religious Studies, American Studies, Critical Race/Ethnic Studies, Global Politics of Religion, De-/Anti-colonial Methods; Environmental Humanities;

Office:  Smith 432   Office Phone: 508-793-3332  PO Box: RELS
Office Hours: TuTh 1:00-300pm or by appointment


Matthew J. Smith is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Race and Religion in the Department of Religious Studies at Holy Cross. He earned a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Ph.D from the Department of Religious Studies as a Mellon Fellow in Comparative Race and Diaspora at Northwestern University. Smith teaches courses and conducts research on race, religion, and empire in the hemispheric Americas while also engaging gender/sexuality, the history of science & technology, and the environmental humanities. 

Smith's dissertation project interrogated racial plasticity in the discourse and imperial infrastructures of Protestant Missions in the late 19th and early 20th century in order to lay out a Christian biopolitics of conversion. His project crosses three cases studies, including (1) U.S. home missions and settler colonialism in the era of imperialist nation-building, (2) transAtlantic black plasticity in the U.S. and Liberia, and (3) the plastic Muslim World upon the fall of the Ottoman Empire and "scramble for Africa" and Asia. 

Recent and Upcoming Courses

  • Race & Religion (Fall 2021)
  • Race & Abolition (Fall 2021)
  • Race and Religion (Spring 2022)
  • Blood (Spring 2022)