Diana Fritz Cates

Diana Fritz Cates
Departmental Chair
Professor, Religious Ethics
PhD, Brown University, 1990
316 Gilmore Hall
Office Hours: 
By appointment only (Summer 2018)
Curriculum Vitae: 

Dr. Cates joined the University of Iowa faculty in 1990.

Her research focuses on religious ethics and moral psychology.  She works primarily within the Aristotelian-Thomistic moral tradition on the nature of the self, the structure of virtue, the relationship between virtue and natural law, particular virtues such as love and compassion, the internal causes of moral evil, the structure of emotion, particular emotions such as anger and hatred, the role of emotions in the moral life, and the way the religious imagination can influence the cultivation of virtue and the deliberate formation of moral emotions.

Dr. Cates works secondarily on issues of bioethics (especially the ethical implications of genetic science and technology), sexual ethics (including questions of religion, gender, and sexuality), the uses of creative literature in ethics, comparative religious ethics, and the ethics of human  rights (especially conceptions of the ground of human dignity and the protection of girls and women from sexual violence).

Research Interests: 
Religious Ethics, Moral Psychology, Virtue, Emotion, Moral Evil
Selected Publications: 

(For complete list, please view Dr. Cates's CV):

  • Cates, Diana Fritz (2009). Aquinas on the Emotions: A Religious-Ethical Inquiry. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
  • Cates, Diana Fritz, and Paul Lauritzen, eds. (2001). Medicine and the Ethics of Care. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
  • Cates, Diana Fritz (1997). Choosing to Feel: Virtue, Friendship, and Compassion for Friends. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press.
  • Cates, Diana Fritz (2010). Experiential Narratives of Rape and Torture. Journal of Religious Ethics, Sumner B. Twiss and John Kelsay, eds., 38/1, 43-66.
  • Cates, Diana Fritz (2005). Spending the Day with a Good Friend: Autobiography, Moral Character, and the Religious Imagination. Seeking Goodness and Beauty: The Use of Arts in Theological Ethics, Patricia Lamoureux and Kevin O’Neil, eds. Lanham, Md.: Roman and Littlefield, 33-54.
  • Cates, Diana Fritz (2002). The Virtue of Temperance. The Ethics of Aquinas, ed. Stephen J. Pope. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 321-33
  • 2017   “The Relational Dynamics of Intimacy and Alterity.” Invited response to Richard Miller, Friends and Other Strangers. Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion.
  • 2017   “Contributions of the Humanities to Cancer Research Advocacy.” Invited address. Fall Speaker Forum. Current Ethical Issues for Breast Cancer Advocates. Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition.
  • 2017   “Love, Social Criticism, and Structural Injustices:  Martin Luther and his Legacy in Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.” Panel presentation. Annual Meeting of the Society of Christian Ethics. New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • 2016   “Theological Study in and as a Community of Friendship.” Invited address. University of St. Catherine. St Paul, Minnesota.
  • 2016   “Ethics and Emotion.” Seminar. Newman Catholic Student Center. Iowa City.
  • 2016   “Virtual Bridges: Establishing Digital Connections between Communities.” Faculty Roundtable. Craft, Critique, and Culture Conference, University of Iowa.
Courses Taught: 

Dr. Cates teaches a range of undergraduate and graduate courses in religious studies and ethics:

  • RELS:5100  Teaching & Public Engagement
  • RELS:1000  First Year Seminar
  • RELS:2260  Hard Cases in Healthcare: Ethics at the Beginning of Life
  • RELS:1310  Religion and Liberation
  • RELS:1710  Sexual Ethics
  • RELS:1810  Longing for Freedom: The Search for Happiness in a Difficult World
  • 032:162  Genes and the Human Condition
  • RELS:4950  Senior Seminar for Undergraduates
  • RELS:5100  Teaching Religious Studies
  • RELS:6200  Graduate Seminars on various topics:  Ethics of Aristotle and Aquinas, Ethics of Søren Kierkegaard, Ethics of Virtue, Religion and Emotion, 20th Century Christian Ethics
Awards, Honors and Grants: 
  • 2015   Funded participant, Digital Bridges Summer Institute on Digital Pedagogy, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
  • 2014-2015   Funded participant, American Academy of Religion Collaborative Research Grant, “How Do We Study Religion and Emotion?” PI Dr. John Corrigan, Florida State University. 
  • 2012   Research and graduate teaching featured in Graduate Education at Iowa (spring edition). “The Ethics of Emotions” by Jennifer Masada.
  • 2011   Certificate of Nomination, University of Iowa Graduate College Outstanding Mentor Award.