Kathryn Gin Lum | Curriculum Vitae

Department of Religious Studies
450 Serra Mall, Building 70
Stanford, CA 94305-2165
Tel. 650.736.3586


Stanford University, Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, in Collaboration with the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity; Affiliate of History (by courtesy), American Studies, and Asian American Studies, 2012-present

Princeton University, Instructor (July 2010-December 2010); Assistant Professor (January 2011-June 2012), Department of Religion; Subfield: Religion in America, 2010-2012


Ph.D., History, Yale University, December 2010
[Dissertation: “Damned Nation? The Concept of Hell in American Life, 1775-1865.”  Distinguished; Winner of the Edwin W. Small Prize, May 2011.   Committee: Jon Butler, Harry Stout, John Mack Faragher, Carlos Eire.]

M.Phil., History, Yale University, 2008
[General Exams passed with Distinction April 24, 2008]

B.A., History, with Honors and Distinction, Stanford University, 2004

Undergraduate coursework, Harvard University, 2000-2001

Undergraduate coursework, University of California at Berkeley, between 1999 (High School Honors Program) and 2002 (while on leave from Harvard)

Books and Book Projects

Damned Nation: Hell in America from the Revolution to Reconstruction (Oxford University Press, 2014).

The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Race in American History. Co-editor with Paul Harvey. In progress, under contract with Oxford University Press.

“What are ‘heathen’?” An American History.  In progress.

Articles and Reviews

“Obama’s God Is Loving. Is this God Just?” The Christian Century, February 11, 2015, http://www.christiancentury.org/blogs/archive/2015-02/obamas-god-loving-is-this-god-just.

“These evangelical haunted houses are designed to show sinners that they’re going to hell.” The Washington Post, October 30, 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/10/30/these-evangelical-haunted-houses-are-designed-to-show-sinners-that-theyre-going-to-hell/?hpid=z11.

“Five Best Books on Hell in American Culture.” The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2014, http://www.wsj.com/articles/five-best-kathryn-gin-lum-on-hell-in-american-culture-1410550980.

“Damnation, American Style: How American Preachers Reinvented Hell” (excerpt from Chapter 1 of Damned Nation). Salon.com, September 6, 2014, http://www.salon.com/2014/09/06/damnation_american_style_how_american_preachers_reinvented_hell/.

“The road to hell is mapped with good intentions.” OUPblog, August 25, 2014, http://blog.oup.com/2014/08/road-hell-map-antebellum-americans-slideshow.

“Hell-bent: Younger Christians may be ditching doctrines of fire and brimstone — but will Christianity ever get rid of hell entirely?” Aeon Magazine, July 7, 2014, http://aeon.co/magazine/world-views/why-has-the-idea-of-hell-survived-so-long/.

Review of Jonathan Ebel and John Carson, eds., From Jeremiad to Jihad: Religion, Violence, and America (University of California Press, 2012). Church History Vol. 83 No. 2 (June 2014).

Review of Nancy Koester, Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Spiritual Life (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2014). Christian Century, April 15, 2014.

Review of Edward Blum and Paul Harvey, The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America (Chapel Hill: UNC, 2012).  The Journal of Religion Vol. 94 No. 2 (April 2014).

Review of Gary Scott Smith, Heaven in the American Imagination (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).  The Journal of American History (2012) 99: 880.

“The Clergy.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Social History, ed. Lynn Dumenil. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

“Why the Hell Does Hell Still Matter?”  Religion Dispatches, April 19, 2011.

“‘The Heavenization of Earth’: African American Visions and Uses of the Afterlife, 1863-1901.”  Slavery & Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies, June 2010, Volume 31 Issue 2: 207-231.

Review of Scott Stephan, Redeeming the Southern Family: Evangelical Women & Domestic Devotion in the Antebellum South (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2008).  Louisiana History, 2010.

“Calvinist/Reformed Tradition and Heritage” (8000 word essay).  In the Encyclopedia of Religion in America, ed. Peter Williams and Charles Lippy, SAGE Publications, June 2010.

Introduction and annotations, “Three Anti-Slavery Woman Writers.” In Early American Abolitionists: A Collection of Anti-Slavery Writings, 1760-1820, ed.  James Basker. New York: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, 2005.

“Stories on the Death of Leland Stanford, Jr.”  Sandstone and Tile, Winter 2004, Vol. 28, No. 1. Recipient of John Hines Prize for best paper on Nineteenth Century America, Stanford 2003. Winner, Stanford Essay Contest, 2003.

“Augustus Leopold Egg’s Past and Present: The Coexistence of Compassion and Condemnation in 19th Century British Attitudes Towards the Adulteress.”  Herodotus (Stanford), Vol XIII, 2003 edition.

Honors, Awards, Fellowships

Young Scholars in American Religion, Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, IUPUI, 2014-2016.

Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity Faculty Research Fellow, Stanford University, 2014-2015.

Ethics Faculty Fellow, Stanford University, 2013-2014.

Annenberg Faculty Fellow, awarded to “outstanding junior faculty in the Humanities and Arts,” Stanford University, 2012-2014.

Edwin W. Small Prize, for outstanding dissertation in American History, Yale University, 2011.

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/ACLS Early Career Fellowship Program Dissertation Completion Fellowship (declined for position at Princeton University), 2010-2011.

Howard R. Lamar Center for the Study of the American West Research Fellowship, Yale University, 2009-2010.

Visiting Scholar, Bill Lane Center for the Study of the American West, Stanford University, 2009-2010.

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow, The Huntington Library, October-November 2009.

Richard J. Franke Fellowship for academic potential in the humanities, Yale University, 2005-2009.

Research Fellowship, The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Fall Semester 2008.

Summer Pre-Prospectus Fellowship, The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, June-July 2007.

John & Marjorie Hines Prize for Undergraduate Thesis Research in American History, Stanford University, 2004.

History Department Commencement Student Speaker, Stanford University, 2004.

History Scholar, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, 2003.

Fischer Grant and Undergraduate Research Office Grant for Thesis Research, Stanford University, 2003.

Lindsay Peters, Jr. Prize in Political Science, Stanford University, 2003.

Co-winner, Stanford Essay Contest, 2003.

John & Marjorie Hines Prizes for best papers in Colonial and Revolutionary America, and Nineteenth-Century America, Stanford University, 2003.

Detur Book Prize for Excellence in first year at Harvard University, 2002.


Invited panelist on Religious Diversity, “Symposium: Religion in Early America,” The Smithsonian National Museum of American History, March 20, 2015. Webcast available at http://americanhistory.si.edu/connect/webcasts/religion-early-america.

“Shaping Souls and Spaces: Missionaries and the Nineteenth-Century Hawaiian Landscape” (augmented version of paper for Agricultural History Society). Panel on “Of Souls and Soils: Land and Faith in Modernizing America.” American Academy of Religion, San Diego, November 2014.

Invited guest, The Colin McEnroe Show, “Evolving Damnation: The American History of Hell.” WNPR, July 30, 2014, http://wnpr.org/post/evolving-damnation-american-history-hell.

Invited speaker, “Damned Nation: Hell in America from the Revolution to Reconstruction.” Four presentations on forthcoming book for The Westar Institute, Spring 2014 Meeting, Santa Rosa, March 19, 2014.

Panelist for Amanda Porterfield’s Conceived in Doubt, American Historical Association, Washington D.C., January 2014.

Panelist: Authors Meet Critics, Edward Blum and Paul Harvey, The Color of Christ, American Academy of Religion, Baltimore, November 2013.

“Shaping Souls and Spaces: Missionaries and the Nineteenth-Century Hawaiian Landscape.” Agricultural History Society, Banff, June 13, 2013.

“The ‘Historyless Heathen’ and the ‘Stagnating Pagan’: History as a Non-Native Category.”  Invited paper for “Heretical History: The Legacy of Jon Butler.” Yale University, April 6, 2013.

Invited faculty presenter for Religion in the Americas Workshop.  Princeton University, March 14, 2013.

“‘Salvation’ or ‘Damnation’? The Survival of Hell in the Early Republic.”  Panel on “Evil in America from the Early Republic to the Christian Right.”  American Historical Association, New Orleans, January 4, 2013.

“The ‘Lost Cause’ in the Sandwich Islands: Narrating Religious Decline and Persistence.”  Panel on “Immanent Critiques of Imperial Logic: Rhetoric, Violence, and American Minority Religions.”  American Academy of Religion, Chicago, November 18, 2012.

“Death and the American Civil War.” Invited lecture for “Religious Perspectives on Violence, Nonviolence, War & Peace.” Stanford University, November 14, 2012.

Invited commentator for Jeffrey Stout, “The Transformation of Genius into Political Power: A Reading of Emerson’s ‘Experience’.” Political Theory Workshop at Stanford, November 2, 2012.

“Samuel Irenaeus Prime and the Fire and Brimstone Rhetoric of the Antebellum Era.”  Invited paper for Princeton Theological Seminary Bicentennial, March 20-22, 2012.

“Paralyzed or Perishing Souls? Hell, Hierarchies, and the ‘Heathen’ in Antebellum America.” Invited lecture for the Religious Studies Department and Center for the Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University, February 2, 2012.

Invited panel chair for concluding session of “Religious Transformations in the Early Modern Americas Symposium,” McNeil Center for Early American Studies and American Studies Program at Princeton University, November 11-12, 2011.

Bloggingheads.tv, Conversation with Eric Reitan, “Values Added: What the Hell?” May 5, 2011.

Invited paper on current work for American Studies Workshop at Princeton University, April 25, 2011.

Moderator for panel discussion, “Lincoln and Religion,” featuring James McPherson and Richard Carwardine.  Princeton University, March 21, 2011.

Invited lecture on current work for History Colloquium at Princeton Theological Seminary, February 7, 2011.

“‘Our Men Die Well’: Damnation, Death, and the Civil War.”  Panel on “Sacrifice and Suffering, Scripture and the State: Americans’ Pursuit of Divine Meaning in Times of War” in the Religion, Peace, and Violence Mini Conference.  American Historical Association, Boston, January 7, 2011.

“‘They Preached Much Terror’: Antebellum Evangelicals and the Dissemination of Damnation.”  Conference on the “Civil War, Millennialism, and Providentialism.”  Rice University, October 2, 2010.

“Damnation and the ‘Heathen.’” Presented at the Bill Lane Center for the American West.  Stanford University, North American West Discussion Series, March 2, 2010.

Interviewed for History Channel program on Hell, “Gates to the Underworld.”  2010

“Religion and Encounters of Empire.” Lecture presented to the Department of Religion, Dartmouth College, January 21, 2010.

“Damned Nation? Belief in and Uses of Damnation among American Abolitionists.”  Panel on “Slavery to Sin and the Sin of Slavery: Spiritual and Social Divisions Caused by American Antislavery, 1830-1860.”  American Historical Association, New York, January 5, 2009.

“‘Dead Christians’ and ‘Heathen Converts’: Home and Foreign Missionary Efforts with the White and Chinese Populations in California, 1850 to 1870” (BA thesis). Section presented at conference, “Through the Lens of Race and Ethnicity: Reimagining the Religious History of the American  West.” Arizona State University, March 3-4, 2006.

Courses Taught

Constructing Race and Religion in America

Religion and War in America

Demons, Death, and the Damned

Introduction to American Religious History

Religion in Colonial America and the New Nation

Asian Religions in America; Asian American Religions

Is Stanford a Religion?

Writing Religion in America

American Religion to 1865

Professional Activities and Work Experience

Core Affiliated Faculty, Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University, 2014-present.

Co-organizer, New/Young Faculty Happy Hour, Stanford University, 2013-present.

Founder and Organizer, American Religions Workshop, Stanford University, 2012-present.

American Studies Committee-in-Charge, Stanford University, 2012-present.

Executive Committee, Center for the Study of Religion, Princeton University, 2011-2012.

Organizer, Religion in the Americas Workshop, Princeton University, 2011-2012.

Faculty Fellow, Mathey College, Princeton University, 2010-2012.

Participant, American Religions Workshop, Princeton University, 2010-2011.

Computer Assistant, History Department, Yale University, 2008-2009.

Student Coordinator, American Religious History Workshop, Yale University, 2007-2009.

Research Assistant to Koichi Shinohara and Phyllis Granoff, Yale Department of Religious Studies.  Assisted in editing conference papers for publication in Heroes and Saints: The Moment of Death in Cross-Cultural Perspectives (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007), May-September 2006.

Paralegal Intern, Elliot & Mayock LLP.  Focus: Immigration law, 2004.

Marketing Assistant and Editorial Intern to Religion, Psychology, and Education teams, Jossey-Bass, A Publishing Unit of John Wiley & Sons, Summer 2002; Winter 2004-Spring 2005.


Spanish (reading knowledge)

French (reading knowledge)

Russian: One year college-level instruction

Chinese: One year college-level instruction in Mandarin; Intermediate Cantonese