Catherine Brekus

Catherine Brekus

Charles Warren Professor of the History of Religion in America
Catherine Brekus


  • BA, Harvard University
  • PhD, Yale University


Catherine Brekus is the Charles Warren Professor of the History of Religion in America at Harvard Divinity School effective July 1, 2014. Previously, she was Professor in Religions in America and the History of Christianity at the University of Chicago Divinity School. She was also an Associate Member of the University of Chicago's Department of History and was affiliated with the school's Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.  

Brekus graduated from Harvard University with a BA in the history and literature of England and America, and she holds a PhD in American Studies from Yale University. Her research has focused largely, but not exclusively, on women in emerging evangelical movements from the seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries. She is widely regarded as a pioneer and innovator in the writing of American religious history. Her other research interests include how religious beliefs and conflicts have shaped American understandings of public and private life, and how American culture has influenced popular understandings of religion.

In 2013, she spearheaded the creation of a new doctoral field of study at the University of Chicago Divinity School, "Religions in America," which is designed to foster an interdisciplinary conversation about American religion. Among the 20 different courses she has offered at Chicago are courses on American Catholicism, slavery and race, the Enlightenment, and children and religion.

Brekus is the recipient of a Henry Luce III Faculty Fellowship in Theology and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. She won the Jane Dempsey Douglass Prize for the best essay on women and religion from the American Society of Church History.

Selected publications

  • Strangers and Pilgrims: Female Preaching in America, 1740-1845 (UNC Press, 1998) Publisher page
  • The Religious History of American Women: Reimagining the Past (UNC Press, 2007) Publisher page
  • American Christianities: A History of Dominance and Diversity (co-edited with W. Clark Gilpin), (UNC Press, 2011) Publisher page
  • Sarah Osborn’s World: The Rise of Evangelical Christianity in Early America (Yale University Press, 2013) Publisher page


Kristin Gunst

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Contact Information


p: 617.496.7480


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