The Politics of Expertise with Thomas J. Whitley


  • John Bernardi University of Alabama



Thomas J. Whitley, John Dailey, politics, humanities, quit lit, beyond academia, professionalization


What are the professional limits of a graduate degree in religious studies? According to Thomas J. Whitley, these limits solely depend on one’s ability to interpret their skills outside the realm of academia. Having received four postsecondary degrees in religious studies, Whitley, rather than pursuing work in the precarious academic job market, took his skills into the world of politics, ultimately becoming Chief of Staff for the city of Tallahassee, Florida. In this interview with the Bulletin, Whitley shares his journey into marketing his degree, stressing the importance for humanities students to be able to articulate their skills beyond the scope of academia.

Author Biography

John Bernardi, University of Alabama

John Bernardin is a Religion in Culture MA student at the Unviersity of Alabama.


Bourdieu, Pierre. 1992 [1982]. Language and Symbolic Power. Translated by Gino Raymond. Polity Press: Malden, MA.

Garber, Megan. 2015. “The Rise of ‘Quit Lit.’” The Atlantic, September 10 . job/404671/

Smith, Jonathan Z. 1988. “Narrative into Problems: The College Introductory Course and the Study of Religion.” Journal for the American Academy of Religion 56 (4): 727–39. DOI:

Whitley, Thomas J. 2015. “The Rhetoric of Similarity:

Republicans, Complementarians, and ISIS.” The Marginalia Review of Books, February 11.

Whitley, Thomas J., Sam Harrelson, and Merianna Harrelson, “Thinking Religion.”



How to Cite

Bernardi, J. (2020). The Politics of Expertise with Thomas J. Whitley. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 49(1-2), 8–11.



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