Paula M. Kane

  • Professor
  • John and Lucine O'Brien Marous Chair of Contemporary Catholic Studies


American Catholicism, American history, popular religion, religion and the arts


Witches to Walden Pond—Religion in Early America, Religion in Modern America, Popular Religion in America, Catholicism in the New World

University Affiliations

Secondary appointment in the Department of History and core faculty member of the Program in Cultural Studies

Professional Experience

Paula Kane was the visiting scholar and a visiting professor at the Center for the Study of American Religion, Princeton University, 1996-1997.

Education & Training

  • PhD, Yale University, 1988

Representative Publications

Sister Thorn and Catholic Mysticism in Modern America, University of North Carolina Press, 2013.

Separatism and Subculture: Boston Catholicism, 1900-1920, University of North Carolina Press, 1994.

Gender Identities in American Catholicism, American Catholic Identities Series, Orbis Books, 2001 [coeditor with James Kenneally and Karen Kennelly]. Honorable Mention, 2001 Catholic Press Association Book Award: Gender Category.

"Jews and Catholics Converge: 'Song of Bernadette,'" in Catholics in the Movies, edited by Colleen McDannell, Oxford University Press, 2007.

"The Supernatural and Slavery: Catholics, Power, and Oppression," in The Problem of Evil: Slavery, Freedom, and the Ambiguities of American Reform, edited by Steven Mintz and John Stauffer, University of Massachusetts Press, 2007.

"American Catholics at a Crossroads: Review Essay," Religion and American Culture 16.2 (Summer 2006).

"Getting beyond Gothic: Challenges for Contemporary Catholic Church Architecture," in American Sanctuary: Understanding Sacred Spaces, edited by Louis P. Nelson, Indiana University Press, 2006.

"Marian Devotionalism since 1940: Continuity or Casualty?" in Habits of Devotion: Catholic Religious Practice in Twentieth-Century America, edited by James M. O'Toole, Cornell University Press, 2004.

"'Have We No Language of Our Own?' Boston's Catholic Churches, Architects, and Communal Identity," in Faces of Community: Immigrant Massachusetts, 1860-2000, edited by Reed Ueda and Conrad Edick Wright, Northeastern University Press, 2003.

"'She offered herself up': The Victim Soul and Victim Spirituality in Catholicism," Church History 71.1 (March 2002).

"American Catholic Culture in the Twentieth Century," in Perspectives on American Religion and Culture: A Reader, edited by Peter W. Williams, Blackwell, 1999.

"Is that a Beer Vat Under the Baldochino? From Premodern to Postmodern in Catholic Sacred Architecture," U.S. Catholic Historian 15 (winter 1997)

"Staging a Lie: Boston Irish-Catholicism and the New Irish Drama," in Religion and Irish Identity, edited by Patrick O’Sullivan, Irish World Wide Series 5, Leicester University Press and St. Martin's Press, 1996.