Leigh Eric Schmidt F'13
ACLS Fellowship Program 2013
John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics
Washington University in St. Louis
Public Atheism: An American History
The object of this research is to offer the first full history of atheists and nonbelievers in American public life. Central topics include: the legal and political standing of nonbelievers (their competence in court and ability to hold public office); the atheist, humanist, and secular specters in American schools and universities; the moral and political threats ostensibly posed by the irreligious (e.g., blasphemy,obscenity, and subversion); and the insistent visibility of freethinking provocateurs (whether as lecturers, cartoonists, publishers, magicians, or civil-liberties activists).