Dr. Josef Sorett will become dean of Columbia College and vice president of undergraduate education at Columbia University, effective July 1.
Sorett is currently a professor of religion and African American and African Diaspora Studies. He is also the chair of the department of religion, and director of the Center on African-American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice.
Sorett has also been chair of the Inclusive Public Safety Advisory Committee, and a member of the Task Force on the Relationship of the Arts & Sciences and the College.
“Josef’s scholarship explores the vital and complex role that religion has played in shaping the cultures of Black communities and movements in this country,” Columba President Lee C. Bollinger wrote in an announcement letter to the campus community. “His research straddles the disciplines of history, literature, religion, art, and music. His first book, Spirit in the Dark: A Religious History of Racial Aesthetics, examines the influence of religion on debates about Black art and culture in the 20th century. His latest work, The Sexual Politics of Black Churches, investigates the politics of sexuality within Black churches and the communities they serve. Josef’s interests extend across time periods and regions, analyzing conversations about marriage equality in the present alongside debates about the Black Arts movement of the 1960s.”
Sorett earned a Bachelor of Science in Health and Exercise Science from Oral Roberts University; a master’s in Religion and Literature from Boston University, and a PhD in African American Studies from Harvard University.