Kathryn Lofton is a historian of religion who has written extensively about capitalism, celebrity, sexuality, and the concept of the secular. In her work, she has examined the ways the history of religion is constituted by the history of popular culture and the emergence of corporations. Her first book, Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon (2011) uses the example of Oprah Winfrey’s multimedia productions to evaluate the material strategies of contemporary spirituality. Her second book, Consuming Religion (2017) offers a profile of religion and its relationship to consumption through a series of case studies including the family Kardashian and the Goldman Sachs Group. She is currently working on communication management in social networks, a study of the religions of American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, and an assessment of the performance studies of mid-twentieth century sociologist Erving Goffman.
Professor Lofton has served as an editor-at-large for the Immanent Frame; she has co-curated (with John Lardas Modern) a collaborative web project titled Frequencies as well as Class 200: New Studies in Religion a book series with the University of Chicago Press. At Yale she has hosted several conferences, including one on the Roman Catholic sex abuse crisis. She has won the 2010 Poorvu Family Award for Interdisciplinary Teaching, the 2013 Sarai Ribicoff Award for the Encouragement of Teaching at Yale College, the 2013 Graduate Mentor Award in the Humanities, and the 2018 Inspiring Yale Award for the Humanities.
In 2018-19, Professor Lofton will be on research leave.