Noreen Khawaja specializes in 19th and 20th century European intellectual history, and particularly on the shifting status of religious ideas in late modern Western philosophy and culture. Her research examines the collapse of metaphysics both historically and philosophically. She looks at this issue in relation to secularity, the retrieval of theological traditions, and the rise of critical discourses on religion. Her book on existentialism, The Religion of Existence: Asceticism in Philosophy from Kierkegaard to Sartre will be published with the University of Chicago Press in 2016. A newer project looks at the emergence of authenticity as a cultural and aesthetic ideal from the early Surrealists to the present day.
At Yale she teaches courses on a variety of topics and figures in modern European thought: Existentialism, Religion and Enlightenment, The Death of God, Problems of Secularization, Martin Heidegger.