Skip to main content


Matthew Engelke

Professor, Religion, Columbia University

Governing Board Member, SOF/Heyman, Columbia University (2021–2024)

Headshot of Matthew Engelke

Matthew Engelke is a Professor of Religion and Director of the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life. At Columbia, he is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society.

Trained as an anthropologist, Professor Engelke’s main research interests are on Christianity, secular humanism, media theory, materiality, and semiotics. He has conducted fieldwork in Zimbabwe and in Britain. He is currently working on a book about secularity and death, based on research among humanist funeral celebrants in London.

Before joining the Columbia faculty in 2018, Professor Engelke taught in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science for 16 years. He received his BA from the University of Chicago in 1994 and his PhD from the University of Virginia in 2002.

Professor Engelke is the editor of Prickly Paradigm Press, a section editor at Public Books, former editor of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and former deputy editor of the Journal of Religion in Africa. He has served on the board of trustees of both the Royal Anthropological Institute and the London School of Economics, as well as vice-chair of the LSE’s Ethics Policy Committee.