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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 148


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. 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


  • Littlefield, Christina. "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.
  • Littlefield, Christina and 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).

  • Littlefield, Christina. "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.
  • Littlefield, Christina 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.
  • Littlefield, Christina. "Upping the Ante at Small Colleges: Utilizing Class Websites as Journalism Teaching Clinics." Journalism and Mass Communication Educator 73, no. 3 (2018). First Published online, July 27, 2017.
  • Chosen Nations: Pursuit of the Kingdom of God and its Influence on Democratic Values in Late-Nineteenth Century Britain and the United States. Minneapolis: Augsburg Press, 2013.
  • "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.
  • 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 590, Investigative and Narrative Reporting
  • Com 400, Communication Ethics
  • Rel 301, 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