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Christina Littlefield Faculty Profile

Christina Littlefield

Associate Professor of Communication and Religion
Currents Magazine Advisor
Communication and Religion and Philosophy Divisions, Seaver College
CCB 145


Dr. Christina Littlefield (PhD, Divinity Faculty at the University of Cambridge, England) is an associate professor with a dual appointment in religion and journalism at Pepperdine University. Her first book, Chosen Nations: Pursuit of the Kingdom of God and its Influence on Democratic Values in Late-Nineteenth Century Britain and the United States (Fortress, 2013) examines the good, bad and ugly in American and British civil religion at the peak of Protestant dominance in both countries. Her second book, Christian America and the Kingdom of God: White Christian Nationalism from the Puritans through January 6, 2021, forthcoming in 2024 from University of Illinois, updates the work of Richard T. Hughes to show how often Christians have behaved in unChristian ways in their pursuit of a Christian America. 

Specializing in church history, journalism history, sociology of religion and theology and ethics, Littlefield's interdisciplinary work looks at the intersection of religion, politics, media and culture. Her current historical research focuses on the social gospel and muckraking era of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Littlefield's former investigative work as a reporter for the Las Vegas Sun led to the indictment, conviction and jail time of a community college vice president who was using college materials, equipment and employees to build his ranch estate. Littlefield primarily covered higher education and religion during her four years at the Sun.


  • PhD in Divinity, University of Cambridge, 2012
  • Master of Arts in Religion, Pepperdine University, 2003
  • Bachelor's in Journalism, minor in Religion, Pepperdine University, 2002, Magna Cum Laude



  • Richard Hughes and Christina Littlefield. Christian America and the Kingdom of God: White Christian Nationalism from the Puritans through January 6, 2021. University of Illinois Press, Forthcoming.
  • Christina Littlefield. Chosen Nations: Pursuit of the Kingdom of God and its Influence on Democratic Values in Late-Nineteenth Century Britain and the United States. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013.

Book Chapters:

  • “Sowing Seeds: How Walter Rauschenbusch’s Failed Newspaper For the Right Germinated His Later Muckraking Work” in In the Shadow of a Prophet: The Legacy of Walter Rauschenbusch, edited by William Brackney and David Gushee, Mercer University Press, 2020.
  • “Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918): Providing a Road Map for Social Critique” in Words and Witnesses: Communication Studies in Christian Thought from Athanasius to Desmond Tutu, edited by Robert H. Woods and Naaman K. Wood. Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2018.
  • “Harry Potter as a Metaphor for Struggling with God” in World Wide Influence of Harry Potter, edited by Diana Patterson. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009.


Journal Articles:

  • Bruce Evensen, John Ferré, Christina Littlefield, and Julie Williams. “How Faith Informs the Work of a Journalism and Mass Communication Historian.” Historiography in Mass Communication 9(4) 2023. https://jmc-history.com/Home.html
  • Christina Littlefield. “Quizzes or Editing Exercises? In Teaching AP Style, Both Methods Work Equally.” Journalism and Mass Communication Educator 77(1), 61-73. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077695821999281. First published online March 17, 2021.
  • Christina Littlefield, Theresa de los Santos, Patrick J. Rear, and Savannah Janssen. “Patriotism and a Free Press: A Content Analysis of Civil Religion in Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing and The Newsroom.” Journal of Media and Religion, 17, No. 2 (2018).
  • Christina Littlefield. “Upping the Ante at Small Colleges: Utilizing Class Websites as Journalism Teaching Clinics.” Journalism and Mass Communication Educator 73, no. 3 (2018), 308-321. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077695817720761. First Published online, July 27, 2017.
  • Christina Littlefield and Falon Opsahl. “Promulgating the Kingdom: Social Gospel Muckraker Josiah Strong.” American Journalism, 34, no. 4 (2017), 289-312. DOI: 10.1080/08821127.2017.1344060.
  • June 6, 2023, Christian Scholars Conference, Lanier Theological Library Convener and panelist for Christian Nationalism in Historical and Theoretical Perspective “How the Christian Left Paradoxically Spurred the Right’s Christian Nationalism”
  • March 24, 2023, Symposium on the Culture Wars at 100, Pepperdine “Christianizing America: School Board by School Board.” This paper is slated for inclusion in a special ISIS "Focus Section."

  • June 8-10, 2022, Christian Scholars Conference, Lipscomb University Panelist for 50-year retrospective of Sydney Ahlstrom’s A Religious History of the American People

  • Aug. 9, 2020, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Virtual Conference“Quizzes or editing exercises? In teaching AP style, both methods work equally”
  • Aug. 8, 2020, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Virtual Conference Moderator for Religion and Media Panel: Religious Stereotypes and Conspiracy Theories

  • October 6, 2018, American Journalism Historians Association, Salt Lake City, Utah. Presented Research in Progress on Social Gospel Muckrakers book project.
  • April 10, 2018, "The Legacy of Walter Rauschenbusch," Mercer University, Atlanta, An International Scholarly Conference in Recognition of the Centenary of Professor Rauschenbusch's Death. Presented paper "Sowing Seeds: How Walter Rauschenbusch's Failed Newspaper For the Right Germinated His Later Muckraking Work."
  • March 24, 2018, American Academy of Religion Western Region, Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkeley. Presented paper "F.D. Maurice and the Little Paper for Dockworkers that Inspired Future Social Gospel Muckrakers."
  • April 7, 2017, American Society of Church History, Berkeley. Presented paper "For the Right: Social Gospel Leader Walter Rauschenbusch's Failed Newspaper for Working Men"
  • Aug. 7, 2014, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Montreal, Canada. Presented peer-reviewed poster "Promulgating the Kingdom: Social Gospel Muckrackers Josiah Strong and Hugh Prices Hughes."
  • Nov. 25, 2013, American Academy of Religion, Baltimore, Maryland, Presented paper "Pragmatism and Nationalism in the Work of Josiah Strong" for a joint session of the Liberal Theologies group and Pragmatism and Empiricism in American Religious Thought on the theme "New Approaches to Social Gospel Theology."
  • March 10, 2012, American Academy of Religion Western Regional Conference, Arizona State University, Tempe. Presented paper Chosenness and Civic Patriotism in Late Nineteenth Century England and the United States.
  • March 13, 2009, Ecclesiastical History Conference Postgraduate Colloquium. Presented paper Protestantism and National Identity in the Works of Congregationalists R.W. Dale and Josiah Strong at the University of Manchester.
  • November 11, 2009, McMenemy Seminar, Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Presented How Would Jesus Vote? Understanding the Religious Right and the Religious Left in America
  • July 25-28, 2008, Accio 2008, Magdalen College, Oxford. Presented paper Harry Potter as a Metaphor for Struggling with God. Accio is a peer-reviewed academic conference on all things Harry Potter.

Professional Journalism Works:

  • Los Angeles Times, "Real Time" Breaking News Desk Contractor, July 2015. Covered national breaking news from Jared Fogle to Bill Cosby to the Chattanooga shootings, Kathryn Steinle and Cecil the Lion.
  • Las Vegas Sun, October 2003 - September 2007: Covered general assignment, the Nevada System of Higher Education and, effective October 2005, religion for a 167,000 circulation daily magazine-style print newspaper and website, lasvegassun.com.
  • Journalistic work included television and radio appearances; published 900-plus stories
  • Investigative reporting into construction corruption at the College of Southern Nevada in 2007 led to the conviction and jail sentence of the college's construction chief on felony theft charges, with three other employees accepting plea deals
  • Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 2007 Associated Press California-Nevada Newswriting and Photo contest, for the college construction corruption stories
  • First Place, Freedom of Information Award, 2007 Nevada Press Association, for stories looking at University of Nevada, Las Vegas' capital campaign
  • Second Place, Best News Feature, 2006 Nevada Press Association, for behind-the-scenes story on how Chancellor Jim Rogers ousted UNLV President Carol Harter
  • Part of reporting team which won First Place, Breaking News Coverage, 2005 National Society of Professional Journalists, for the capture of the D.C. sniper
  • Scripps Howard Foundation Visiting Professors in Social Media Program, $4,500 total grant to visit Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina and to bring Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Jennifer Berry Hawes to campus.
  • American Journalism Historians Association Rising Scholar Grant, 2017

Areas of Expertise

  • Journalism
  • Christian History
  • Religion
  • Race and Politics
  • Christian Nationalism


  • American and British Church History
  • Civil Religion
  • Investigative Journalism / Muckracking
  • Religion Coverage in the Secular Media
  • Religion in the Public Sphere
  • The Social Gospel


  • First-Year Seminar: Critiquing the News
  • Jour 241, Introduction to Newswriting and Editing
  • Jour 490, Investigative and Narrative Reporting
  • Com 400, Communication Ethics
  • Rel 300, Christianity and Culture
  • Rel 330, History of Christianity
  • Rel 538 / Hist 438, History of Religion in America
  • Rel 590s, Women in American Religious History, Military Chaplaincies
  • Rel 635, American Moral Thought