Pamela Klassen, FRSC

Professor; Chair & Graduate Chair

On Leave

July 01, 2022 to June 30, 2023
Jackman Humanities Building, Room 318, 170 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5R 2M8

Campus

Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

  • Anthropology of religion, secularism, and mediation (including digital humanities)
  • Christianity, colonialism, and land in North America & Turtle Island
  • Religion, ritual, and public memory (including museum studies)
  • Religion, spirituality, and gender

Biography

Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion and cross-appointed to Anthropology, Pamela Klassen teaches graduate and undergraduate students in the anthropology and history of Christianity and colonialism in North America and Turtle Island, religion and public memory, and religion, law, media, and gender. She welcomes inquiries from prospective students in these and related areas. For 2022-23 she is William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, where she is hosted by the Department of English and the Committee on the Study of Religion.

Her current research focuses on colonialism, treaties, museums, and public memory. She is working on two main projects: a book about the public memory of gold rushes in settler colonies and a collective project on “Mounds and Memory,” in collaboration with Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre, the site of ancient burial mounds stewarded by the Rainy River First Nations.

The author of many books and articles, Klassen’s most recent solo publications are The Story of Radio Mind: A Missionary’s Journey on Indigenous Land (U of Chicago Press, 2018) and “Contraception and the Coming of Secularism: Reconsidering Reproductive Freedom as Religious Freedom” in Secular Bodies, Affects, and Emotions, eds. Monique Scheer, Birgitte Schepelern Johansen, and Nadia Fadil, (London: Bloomsbury, 2019, pp. 17-30). Recent joint publications include The Public Work of Christmas: Difference and Belonging in Multicultural Societies, co-edited with Monique Scheer, (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019) and Ekklesia: Three Inquiries in Church and State (U of Chicago Press, 2018), co-authored with Paul Christopher Johnson and Winnifred Fallers Sullivan. Her previous book, Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity (University of California Press, 2011) won a 2012 American Academy of Religion Award of Excellence.

In 2019, she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and she has held awards and fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Fulbright Program, and other organizations.

For more information, along with a wide range of digital scholarship, please see her website.

Publications

Books

2021. Routledge Handbook of Religion and Medicine, co-edited with Dorothea Lüddeckens, Philipp Hetmanczyk, and Justin Stein. London: Routledge.

2019. The Public Work of Christmas: Difference and Belonging in Multicultural Societies, co-edited with Monique Scheer. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

2018. The Story of Radio Mind: A Missionary’s Journey on Indigenous Land, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Launched June 2018. Kiinawin Kawindomowin Story Nations, an ongoing collaborative digital storytelling project in consultation with the Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre of the Rainy River First Nations.

2018. Ekklesia: Three Inquiries in Church and State, co-authored with Paul C. Johnson and Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, TRIOS Series, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

2011. Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity.University of California Press.

2010. After Pluralism: Reimagining Religious Engagement. Co-edited with Courtney Bender. Columbia University Press.

2009. Women and Religion: Critical Concepts. Co-edited with Shari Golberg and Danielle Lefebvre. 4 vols. Routledge.

2001. Blessed Events: Religion and Home Birth in America. Princeton University Press.

1994. Going by the Moon and the Stars: Stories of Two Russian Mennonite Women. Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Recent Articles

2021. “Skating in the City,” for a symposium on “Rethinking Religion and Secularism in Urban Planning” in Planning Theory and Practice 22(2: 274-77).

2020. “North America, Turtle Island, and the Study of Religion”, co-written with Jennifer Graber. Numen 67(2-3): 313-325.

2019. “Contraception and the Coming of Secularism: Reconsidering Reproductive Freedom as Religious Freedom” in Secular Bodies, Affects, and Emotions, eds. Monique Scheer, Birgitte Schepelern Johansen, and Nadia Fadil, London: Bloomsbury, pp. 17-30.

2019. “Back to the Land and Waters: Futures for the Study of Religions” Religion, 50(1): 90-96.

Awards and Honours

2022-2023. William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University.

2019. Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

2018. Visiting Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

2018. Visiting Scholar, Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

2015-2020. Anneliese Maier Research Award, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

2015. Northrop Frye Award of Excellence for the integration of Research and Teaching, University of Toronto Alumni Association.

2014-2017. Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Anthropology of Modern Religion, Ludwig-Uhland-Institut of Historical and Cultural Anthropology, University of Tübingen.

2012. Winner of the American Academy of Religion Award of Excellence in Analytical-Descriptive Studies for Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity.

Academic Service

2020-present. Chair & Graduate Chair, Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto.

2016-2020. Vice-Dean, Undergraduate & International, Faculty of Arts & Science, University of Toronto.