Pamela Klassen

Professor, Department for the Study of Religion
Advisory Committee, Ethnic and Pluralism Studies Collaborative Graduate Program
Affiliated Faculty, CSUS



I am a Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion and have been at U of T since 1997. 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. My most recent book, Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity, won the 2012 American Academy of Religion Award of Excellence for Analytical-Descriptive Studies. My current book project, “Confessing Nations: Mediums and Missionaries on Indian Land”, focuses on the intersection of Christianity, First Nations, colonialism, and the (social) sciences in the making of Canada. I consider the exchange between Protestant and Indigenous practices of storytelling and confession, paying particular attention to differences in mediation—photography, printing presses, maps, and radio. Another ongoing area of my research involves issues of religion and public life. My 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 Religion in the Public Sphere, an interdisciplinary initiative at U of T, and am a strand leader in the Religion and Diversity Project based at the University of Ottawa. From 2015-2020 I will hold an Anneliese Maier Research Award from the Humboldt Foundation.

Research interests

Religion and Secularism in North America
Christianity and Indigenous Peoples
Method and theory in the study of religion
Christianity, cultural change and conflict in 19th and 20th century
Anthropological and historical approaches to medicine, ritual, the body, and religion


Ph.D. with Distinction Drew University (1997)
M.A with Distinction Wilfrid Laurier University, (1992)
B.A. McGill University (1998)

awards and distinctions

2015-2020 Anneliese Maier Research Award, Humboldt Foundation
2015 Northrop Frye Award of Excellence (for connecting research and teaching) University of Toronto
2013 Elected Member, American Society for the Study of Religion
2012 Winner of the American Academy of Religion Award of Excellence in Analytical-
Descriptive Studies for Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011).
2012 John Albert Hall Lecturer, Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of
Victoria. Four public lectures, January 19-25.
2010-11 Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Returning Research Fellow
2008-9 Jackman Humanities Institute Fellowship, U of Toronto
2003 Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellowship, residential 12-month
Fellowship, University of Tübingen, Germany, July 2004 – June 2005
1994 Fulbright Scholarship, Canada/U.S. Scholar Program

Selected Publications

2014 “Mentality, Fundamentality, and the Colonial Secular; or How Real is Real Estate?” The Postsecular Condition, ed. Rosi Braidotti, Bolette Blaagaard, and Eva Midden. London: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 175-194.
2013 “Christianity as a Polemical Concept” The Companion to the Anthropology of Religion, ed. Michael Lambek and Janice Boddy, London: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 344-362.
2011 Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity. Berkeley: University of California Press, 304 pp. Winner of the American Academy of Religion Award of Excellence in Analytical-Descriptive Studies.
2010 After Pluralism: Reimagining Religious Engagement. Co-edited with Courtney Bender. New York: Columbia University Press, 341 pp.
2001 Blessed Events: Religion and Home Birth in America. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 316 pp.


Big Ideas: The Internet: Saving Civilization or Trashing the Planet
Museums and Material Religion
Method and Theory in the Study of Religion
Topics in North American Religion: Making up Selves and Souls
Research Opportunities Program,
Christian Religious Tradition
Anthropology of Christianity
Memoir and Confession
Genealogies of Christianity

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