About

Author photo of Douglas Boin
Photo by Nicole Griffing

Religious Dirt is the web presence of Douglas Boin.

Doug is a writer, professor, and champion of causes. Raised just outside Chicago, in Park Ridge, Illinois, he grew up attending Jesuit Catholic schools, where his teachers shaped his interest in storytelling, history, and religion. After college at Georgetown, he moved to Austin to pursue his graduate work at The University of Texas where he specialized in the history of Rome. He continues to write about the people, cities, and beliefs of the Roman Empire as a professor of history at Saint Louis University and divides his time between St. Louis and Austin, Texas.

A proud book lover in an age of tiny typed notes and short attention spans, Doug has always been inspired by people who tell different stories. He is an advisory board member of the Austin-based social platform OnFaith.co and a board member of the cultural heritage organization, Saving Antiquities For Everyone. For twenty years his interest in history has taken him back to the city he adores, Rome. He is available to speak about how growing up gay in a Catholic family shaped his work as a writer and as a historian.

Doug's writing and research have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, at NBC news, and in the Spanish newspaper El País. He has written essays for TIME ("What We Get Wrong about the Fall of Rome," originally published at the History News Network), Biblical Archaeology, BuzzFeed, OnFaith.co and The Chronicle of Higher Education. His advocacy on behalf of cultural heritage issues has been featured in The International New York Times. In 2017, he co-organized a panel at SXSW on technology and faith. Most recently, his writing was nominated for a 2019 PROSE Award from the Association of American Publishers.

As a scholar, Doug has documented the restoration of temples during the divisive time of the later Roman Empire; shown that the legacy of Augustine and his mother, Monica, was not received as swiftly as faith history asserts; explained how the word "pagan" grew out of a contentious conversation about Christian cultural choices in the world after Constantine; and used ancient statues to shed light on the radical changes Christian politicians enacted in Roman cities. He was the team lead for the collaborative Living Late Antiquity project, which launched in 2017. From 2010-2013 he taught in the Department of Classics at Georgetown University.

A selection of Doug's other work appears at Medium. You can learn more about his research at Saint Louis University's Department of History, at academia.edu and on YouTube. He is also a member of the Goodreads community.