David Harrington Watt is the Douglas and Dorothy Steere Professor of Quaker Studies, a Professor of Independent College Programs, and an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Religion. He earned 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. Watt taught courses at Temple University from over thirty years.
During the 2019-2020 academic year, Watt will be teaching three courses: "Quakers, War, and Slavery, 1646-1723;" "Reinventing Quakerism: Haverford College, Rufus Jones, and the Rise of Liberal Quakerism;" and "Ethical Struggles in Catastrophic Times: Quakers' Responses to the Holocaust." Other courses that he has taught recently include: "Hiroshima and Nagasaki," "Quakers in Pennsylvanis and New Jersey, 1672-present," "Religion in Philadelphia," 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, Haverford College and the Founding of the American Friends Service Committee" (co-authored with James Krippner), "Whose Freedoms? Which Religions?;" Antifundamentalism in Modern America; Fundamentalism: Perspectives on a Contested History (co-edited with Simon Wood); Bible-Carrying Christians; and A Transforming Faith.
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."