In Memoriam: Albert J. Raboteau, 1943-2021

Albert Raboteau, the Henry W. Putnam Professor of Religion Emeritus at Princeton University in New Jersey, died at his home in Princeton on September 18. He was 77 years old and had suffered from Lewy body dementia.

A native of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, Professor Raboteau grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Pasadena, California. He entered college at the age of 16 and graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He went on to earn master’s degrees from Marquette University in Milwaukee and the University of California, Berkeley. He held a Ph.D. from Yale University. Before joining Princeton’s faculty, Dr. Raboteau taught at Xavier University, Yale University, and the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Raboteau joined Princeton’s faculty in 1982. He served as chair of the department of religion from 1987 to 1992 and as dean of the Graduate School from 1992 to 1993. He was a founding member of the Center for the Study of American Religion, which later became the Center for the Study of Religion and is now the Center for Culture, Society, and Religion His research and teaching focused on African American religious history, African American studies, and American religious history.

Professor Raboteau was the author of several books including Slave Religion: The ‘Invisible Institution” in the Antebellum South (Oxford University Press, 2004) and Fire in the Bones: Reflections on African American Religious History (Beacon Press, 1995).


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