Watson earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University and returned to his alma mater for a one-year faculty research project as a James Madison Fellow. He used this opportunity to delve into the writings of 17th century philosopher John Locke. The Princeton library houses about 900 books directly related to Locke's work. Watson used those resources to explore writings about matters of faith as related to the political world. He says his time as a Madison Fellow re-energized both his classroom teaching and his writing ambitions.
Watson: "Getting away for a full year, living in a different place, interacting with colleagues - many of whom were not believers - reinvigorated something in me, both in thinking hard about what I was interested in, but also in communicating some faith things to folks who aren't normally used to that."