David Harrington Watt is the Douglas and Dorothy Steere Professor of Quaker Studies. He recieved an A.B. in History from the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from Harvard University.
During the 2020-2021 academic year, Watt will be on sabbatical. When he is not on leave, Watt teaches "Quakers, War, and Slavery, 1646-1723;" "Reinventing Quakerism: Haverford College, Rufus Jones, and the Rise of Liberal Quakerism;" "Ethical Struggles in Catastrophic Times: Quakers' Responses to the Holocaust;" and "Taking Religion Seriously: Quakerism as a Test Case."
In collaboration with Laura Levitt and Tracy Fessenden, Watt edits a series, North American Religions, for NYU Press. Books in the series explore topics such as lived religion, popular religious movements, religion and social power, religion and cultural reproduction, and the relationship between secular and religious practices.
The books and articles Watt has published include: "Henry Cadbury, the Peace Testimony, and the First World War" (co-authored with James Krippner), “Henry Cadbury, Haverford College and the Founding of the American Friends Service Committee" (also co-authored with James Krippner), "Whose Freedoms? Which Religions?;" "Eugenicists, Quakers, and Rufus Jones, 1893-1938;" Antifundamentalism in Modern America (Cornell University Press, 2017); Fundamentalism: Perspectives on a Contested History (published by the University of South Carolina Press in 2014 and co-edited with Simon Wood); Bible-Carrying Christians: Conservative Protestants and Social Power (Oxford University Press, 2002); and A Transforming Faith: Explorations of Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism (Rutgers University Press, 1991).
Over the course of his career, Watt's scholarship has been supported by generous grants from the Fulbright Scholars Program, Harvard University, Haverford College, the Lilly Endowment, the Louisville Institute, Princeton University, Temple University, and the University of Chicago.
Watt's current research focuses on the history of the Society of Friends in the years between 1830 and 1937, on Friends' responses to the Holocaust, and on twentieth-century Quakers' interpretations of the "Peace Testimony."