Professor of Religious Studies, American Studies, History, and Divinity
A.B., University of Chicago
M.A, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Kathryn Lofton is a historian of religion with a particular focus on the cultural and intellectual history of the United States. Her archival expertise is in the post-Civil War era, but her research draws upon the histories and anthropology of religions in the U.S. from pre-contact to the present in order to elucidate the meanings of and relationships between religion, modernity, and the secular. This research focuses scholarly attention on the public affects, intimate desires and corporate entities that have influenced—and are in turn influenced by—religious activity. Through studies of preachers and parents, bathing soap and office cubicles, evangelicalism and liberal theology, Prof. Lofton has developed a portrait of religion in America that emphasizes the formation of religion through new technologies, renegade manifestos, and the cornucopia of cultural practices that contribute to social identity in the modern world. Her first book, Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon (2011) used the example of Oprah Winfrey's multimedia productions to analyze the nature of religion in contemporary America. She is currently working on several projects, including a study of sexuality and Protestant fundamentalism; an analysis of the culture concept of the Goldman Sachs Group; and a religious history of Bob Dylan. For her work at Yale she has won the 2010 Poorvu Family Award for Interdisciplinary Teaching, the 2013 Sarai Ribicoff Award for the Encouragement of Teaching at Yale College, and the 2013 Graduate Mentor Award in the Humanities.