Wagner’s 19th president, Joel W. Martin, is an expert on Native American history and religion, and he has written and edited a collection of notable books on these topics. At Wagner, he has also been appointed a professor of religious studies.
Sacred Revolt: The Muskogees’ Struggle for a New World (Beacon Press, 1991). “Every citizen with a conscience should read this book,” said novelist Tony Hillerman. “In Sacred Revolt Joel Martin places the 1813–1814 revolt of the people who were called ‘Creek Indians’ in the context of world history while forsaking nothing of the texture of their own culture,” said Charles Hudson, author of The Southeastern Indians. “With a deft use of multiple perspectives, he has rewritten a chapter in the history of the Old South. His book will do much to freshen stale ways of thinking about a valiant people.” Read more about it in the Wagner Magazine feature “Meet Wagner’s 19th President.”
Screening the Sacred: Religion, Mythology, and Ideology in Popular American Film (Westview Press, 1995). Co-edited with Conrad Ostwalt, the essay collection uncovers the deep, implicit presence of religion in popular American films like Rocky and Alien. The essays are divided into three categories: theological criticism, mythological criticism, and ideological criticism. Martin contributed the introduction, “Seeing the Sacred on the Screen,” and an essay entitled “Redeeming America: Rocky as Ritual Drama.”
The Land Looks After Us: A History of Native American Religion (Oxford UP, 2001). First published in 1999, this elegantly written history traces Native American religion’s development from ancient burial mounds, through interactions with Europeans, and on to the modern rebirth of ancient rites and beliefs. It begins with the premise expressed in this quotation, recorded by a Hopi man in 1951: “Our land, our religion, and our life are one.”
Native Americans, Christianity, and the Reshaping of the American Religious Landscape (University of North Carolina Press, 2010). Co-edited with Mark A. Nicholas, this collection reconsiders the history of Native American peoples’ engagement with Christianity and Euro-American missionaries. Thirteen scholars contributed to this volume, including Joel Martin, whose essay is entitled “Crisscrossing Projects of Sovereignty and Conversion: Cherokee Christians and New England Missionaries during the 1820s.”