Religious History

Religious history has traditionally entailed the study of the origin and development of systems of belief and the religious institutions that structure them. Historians of religion in the Corcoran Department of History take a broader, more multifaceted approach: their research asks how religion intersected with other spheres of thought and practice across a broad range of geographic and chronological contexts. While some ask how religious beliefs inform social structures, others explore the cultural significance of rituals and religious objects. Still others explore the juncture of religious and political discourses, or the relationships between religion and law. Their sources and methods are as diverse as their approaches to the subject of religious history. It goes without saying that texts are vital to our understanding, but we also incorporate other sources such as images and oral traditions in our research. Because our interests are far-reaching, our work often intersects with that of colleagues in other research areas within the department. We also find common ground with scholars in other departments, particularly Religious Studies.


Nair photo
Professor of History, Affiliate Faculty, Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Affiliate Faculty, Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures
234 Nau Hall
Office Hours: On Leave: 2024-25
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Empire & Colonialism, Genocide & Violence, Intellectual History & History of Ideas, Legal History, Political History, Religious History, Spatial History, Frontiers, & Migration, Transnational and Diplomatic History, Women, Gender, & Sexuality
Associate Professor
Nau 453
Office Hours: M, 1:00-2:30PM (Zoom), or by appointment (in-person or Zoom)
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Religious History

Graduate Student