Anthony B. Pinn earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Columbia University, Master of Divinity and Ph.D. in the study of religion from Harvard University in 1994. Pinn began his teaching career at Macalester College (St. Paul, MN), where his research and teaching earned him early tenure and promotion to full professor within the first eight years of his career. In 2003, Pinn accepted an offer from Rice University (Houston, TX), becoming the first African American to hold an endowed chair at the University. After an additional semester at Macalester and a semester at Williams College as the Sterling Brown 1922 Visiting Professor, Pinn joined the Rice faculty as the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University.
In addition to being the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and professor of religion at Rice University, Pinn is the founding director of the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning also at Rice University. He is also Director of Research for the Institute for Humanist Studies. Pinn’s research interests include religion and culture; humanism; and hip hop culture. He is the author/editor of 30 books, including The Black Church in the Post-Civil Rights Era (2002); Terror and Triumph: The Nature of Black Religion (2003), African American Humanist Principles (2004), Noise and Spirit: Rap Music’s Religious and Spiritual Sensibilities (2004), By These Hands: A Documentary History of African American Humanism (2001), Introducing African American Religion (2012), The End of God-Talk: An African American Humanist Theology (2012), and the novel, The New Disciples (2015).
Pinn also founded and serves as primary advisor of the doctoral concentration in the study of African American Religion at Rice University. The doctoral concentration in the study of African American Religion, since its founding in 2003, has developed a reputation within the academy as a program committed to academic rigor and the flourishing of African American religious studies. This concentration, currently with 10 PhD students, is marked by excellence on and off campus. Outside Rice, Pinn has served as the first executive director of the Society for the Study of Black Religion, and he also served on the Meadville Lombard Theological School Board of Trustees (2007-2012). In addition, he has served in various roles on the board of directors and the executive committee of the American Academy of Religion. He is also the Director of Research for the Institute for Humanist Studies Think Tank (Washington, DC). Pinn is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.