Professor Contact Areas of Interest
Pamela Klassen

Photo: Johnny Guatto

Department for the Study of Religion
170 St George Street
Toronto, ON M5R 2M8
  • Anthropology of religion
  • Religion, healing, and medicine
  • Religious diversity in North America in historical and contemporary perspectives
  • Women, gender, and religion
  • Ritual and ritual theory
  • Narrative and life writing
  • Religion and the secular


Pamela Klassen is Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion, cross-appointed to the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. She teaches graduate and undergraduate students in areas of the anthropology and history of Christianity and colonialism in North America, method and theory in the study of religion, and religion, media, and the public sphere. From 2015-17 she is Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Anthropology of Modern Religion at the Ludwig-Uhland-Institut für Empirische Kulturwissenschaft at the University of Tübingen in Germany, where she recently taught a course entitled “Museums and Material Religion”. From 2015-2020, as holder of the Anneliese Maier Research Award from the Humboldt Foundation, she is collaborating with Monique Scheer of the University of Tübingen on an international project entitled “Religion and Public Memory in Multicultural Societies.” Her most recent book, Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity (University of California Press, 2011) won a 2012 American Academy of Religion Award of Excellence. Her current book project, “The Story of Radio Mind: A Missionary’s Journey on Indian Land” examines the politics and material practices of storytelling in exchanges between Christian missionaries and Indigenous peoples in early-twentieth-century Canada. For more information, please see here.


In Fall 2015 Pamela is teaching “Museums and Material Religion”, in conjunction with my colleague Ajay Rao in Historical Studies at UTM. Several of the class meetings will be held at the Royal Ontario Museum. In the winter term, she is teaching a new graduate course, “Mediascapes: Text, Land, Stories” which serves as the BKS2000 Ph.D. seminar in the Book History and Print Culture Program. Interested DSR graudate students can contact her about the course. She will also teach the Religion in the Public Sphere Service Learning Course, which is open to advanced undergraduates with her permission (details here).



Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity.University of California Press.
Co-edited with Courtney Bender.After Pluralism: Reimagining Religious Engagement.Columbia University Press.
Co-edited with Shari Golberg and Danielle Lefebvre.”Women and Religion: Critical Concepts.4 vols.Routledge.
Blessed Events: Religion and Home Birth in America.Princeton University Press.
Going by the Moon and the Stars: Stories of Two Russian Mennonite Women.Wilfrid Laurier University Press.


Co-authored with Matthew King.“Suppressing the Mad Elephant: Missionaries, Lamas, and the Mediation of Sacred Historiographies in the Tibetan Borderlands.”History and Anthropology24 (4): 1-24.
“Fantasies of Sovereignty: Civic Secularism in Canada.”Critical Studies in Religion3(1): 41-56.
“The Politics of Protestant Healing: Theoretical Tools for the Study of Spiritual Bodies and the Body Politic.”Spiritus 14(1): 67-75.
“Making Religion Mental: A Response to Birgit Meyer’s ‘Mediation and the Genesis of Presence.’”Religion and Society 5: 231-237.
“Mentality, Fundamentality, and the Colonial Secular; or How Real is Real Estate?”The Postsecular Condition.Eds. Rosi Braidotti, Bolette Blaagaard, and Eva Midden.Palgrave MacMillan.175-94.
“Christianity as a Polemical Concept.”The Companion to the Anthropology of Religion.Eds. Michael Lambek and Janice Boddy.Wiley-Blackwell.344-362.
Co-authored with Kathryn Lofton.“Material Witnesses: Women and the Mediation of Christianity.”Media, Religion, and Gender.Ed. Mia Lövheim.Routledge.52-65.
Co-authored with John Marshall.“Saint as Cipher: Paul and the Politics of Ritual Repudiation.”History of Religions.51 (4): 344-363.
“Religion and Myths of Nationhood in Canada and Mexico in the Twenty-first Century.”The Cambridge History of Religions in America, Volume III: 1945 to the Present.Ed. Stephen J. Stein.Cambridge UP.719-745.
“Practice.”Keywords in the Study of Media and Religion.Ed. David Morgan.Routledge.136-147.
“Ritual.”The Oxford Handbook of Religion and EmotionEd. John Corrigan.Oxford UP.143-161.


Anneliese Maier Research Award, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Northrop Frye Award of Excellence for the integration of Research and Teaching, University of Toronto Alumni Association
Winner of the American Academy of Religion Award of Excellence in Analytical-Descriptive Studies for Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity
John Albert Hall Lecturer, Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria.  Four public lectures, January 19-25
Religious Diversity Youth Leadership Project, funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (Federal Government), $500,000 over 3 years for academic and community workshops, service learning, and youth engagement. Joint application with Religion in the Public Sphere, The Multifaith Centre, and Centre for Community Partnerships, all at U of Toronto
DAAD/German Academic Exchange Program Study Tour Grant (I led a tour of four German research institutes for 11 U of T PhD students)
Humboldt Foundation Returning Research Fellow
Visiting Professor, Institut für Ethnologie, University of Tübingen
Jackman Humanities Institute Fellowship, University of Toronto