Pamela Klassen is Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion and has been at U of T since 1997. My most recent book, Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity, is published with University of California Press, 2011. My current research focuses on the intersection of Christianity, colonialism, and the (social) sciences in the making of Canada, focusing on Protestant practices of storytelling and confession and paying particular attention to differences in mediation—photograpy, print, and radio. Another ongoing area of my research involves issues of religion and public life. My recent co-edited publication, After Pluralism: Reimagining Religious Engagement, brings together a range of scholars concerned with how the ideal of “religious pluralism” has shaped the recognition of what counts as religious in scholarly, state, and popular contexts. I direct an interdisciplinary initiative at U of T called Religion in the Public Sphere, and am a strand leader in the Religion and Diversity Project based at the University of Ottawa.
Religion in the city
Christianity, cultural change and conflict in 19th and 20th century
Religion, mediation, and narrative
Anthropological and historical approaches to medicine, ritual, the body, and religion
Religion, culture, and mediation
Opportunities for Student Supervision/Areas of Interest
Anthropology of Christianity
Religion, Media, and Mediation
Religion in 19th and 20th century North America, especially
Christianity, liberal Protestants, alternative movements, and First Nations interactions
Religion and medicine
Religious diversity in North America in historical and contemporary perspectives
Women, gender, and religion
Ritual and ritual theory
Narrative and life writing
2011. Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity. Berkeley: University of California Press.
2010. After Pluralism: Reimagining Religious Engagement, co-edited with Courtney Bender. New York:Columbia University Press.
2009. Women and Religion: Critical Concepts, 4 vols. with Shari Golberg and Danielle Lefebvre. London and New York: Routledge.
2001. Blessed Events: Religion and Home Birth in America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
1994. Going by the Moon and the Stars: Stories of Two Russian Mennonite Women. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1994.
Forthcoming “Saint as Cipher: Paul and the Politics of Ritual Repudiation”, co-authored with John Marshall, in History of Religions.
2007 “Radio Mind: Christian Experimentalists on the Frontiers of Healing.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 75(3, September): 651-683.
2006 “Textual Healing: Mainstream Protestants and the Therapeutic Text, 1900-1925” Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture, 75(4, December): 809-848.
2005 “Ritual Appropriation and Appropriate Ritual: Christian Healing and Adaptations of Asian Religions” History and Anthropology, 16(3): 377-391.
2004 “The Robes of Womanhood: Dress and Authenticity among African American Methodist Women in the Nineteenth Century,” Journal of Religion and American Culture, 14(1):39-82.
2001 “Sacred Maternities and Post-Biomedical Bodies: Religion and Nature in Contemporary Home Birth” Signs: A Journal of Women in Culture and Society 26(3):775-810.
Chapters in Books:
Forthcoming “Ritual, Tradition, and the Force of Design” in Ritualdesign, eds. Janina Karolewski, Christof Zotter und Nadja Miczek.
Forthcoming. “Religion and Myths of Nationhood in Canada and Mexico in the Twenty-first Century.” Concluding Essay in The Cambridge History of Religions in America: Volume III: 1945 to the Present, ed. Stephen J. Stein, Cambridge University Press, 10000 words.
2010 “Habits of Pluralism” in After Pluralism: Reimagining Religious Engagement. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 1-30.
2008 “Practice” in Keywords in the Study of Media and Religion, ed. David Morgan, New York: Routledge, pp. 136-147.
“Ritual” The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Emotion, Ed. John Corrigan, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 143-161.
2004 “Mothers between God and Mammon: Feminist Interpretations of Childbirth” in Consuming Motherhood, ed. Janelle Taylor, Danielle Wozniak, and Lynda Lange, Rutgers University Press, pp. 249-270.
“Procreating Women and Religion: The Politics of Spirituality, Healing, and Childbirth in North America,” Religion and Healing in America, ed. Susan Sered and Linda Barnes, Oxford University Press, pp. 71-88.
2002 “The Scandal of Pain in Childbirth” in Suffering Religion, ed. Robert Gibbs and Eliot Wolfson, New York: Routledge, 73-100.
Accomplishments & Awards
Overall, my research and teaching is in conversation with currents in religious studies, anthropology of religion, critical theories of secularism, postcolonial, feminist and gender theory, and North American religious history. I received an Honours BA in Political Theory from McGill University, a MA in Religion and Culture from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a PhD in Anthropology of Religion from Drew University. While at U of T, I have been awarded fellowships and research grants from the Humboldt Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. In 2008-9 I was a Fellow at the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto, and in 2012 I am delivering the John Albert Hall Lectures at the University of Victoria.
Pamela Klassen, Professor
Department and Centre for the Study of Religion
BA (McGill), MA (Wilfrid Laurier), PhD (Drew)
Victoria College, Northrop Frye, Rm. 222