Kristy Nabhan-Warren

V.O. and Elizabeth Kahl Figge Fellow in Catholic Studies
PhD, Indiana University, 2001
309 Gilmore Hall
Office Hours: 
Tues 10:45-12:30pm; Thurs 10:45am-12:45pm (Spring 2017)
Curriculum Vitae: 
Research Interests: 
Catholic Studies

Professor Nabhan-Warren joined the faculty in 2012.

Kristy Nabhan-Warren is the inaugural V.O. and Elizabeth Kahl Figge Fellow in Catholic Studies. She comes to us from Augustana College, where she worked with undergraduates for ten years. Kristy is passionate about teaching and research and finds both vocations to be mutually informing and inspiring. In both the classroom and in her scholarly work, she focuses on the lived experiences of American Christians and their communities. Kristy enjoys the challenge of making the academic study of religion relevant and exciting to students, and she strives to get them to the point where they care more about understanding others' beliefs and practices than when they entered the class. She aims to make her classes learning communities where the professor and students learn as much from the assigned texts--print, celluloid, and digital--as they do from each other's perspectives and analyses.

Kristy's published work focuses on American Catholicism, Mexican American lived religion, ethnographic methods in the study of North American religions, youth and religion, and women and American religion. She is the author of The Virgin of El Barrio: Marian Apparitions, Catholic Evangelizing, and Mexican American Activism (New York University Press, 2005), a deep ethnography of a Mexican American Catholic community and its devotions to the Virgin Mary and to apparition-inspired activism. Her second book, Cursillos in America: Catholics, Protestants and Fourth Day Spirituality will be published by the University of North Carolina Press in the Summer 2013. Cursillos in America is a historically-informed ethnographic study of the Catholic Cursillo de Cristianidad movement, an intensive weekend experience that is widespread among Catholics as well as Protestants. In her newest book, Dr. Nabhan-Warren traces the Cursillo movement from its Mallorquin roots to its contemporary U.S. manifestations, and hopes to contribute to a greater understanding of U.S. religious history and specifically the ways U.S. Catholicism and Protestantism have overlapped. She hopes to demonstrate in her work that it is important for scholars of religion to investigate the origins of religious movements, and to travel to those places of origin, for a more globalized Religious Studies perspective. A study of the Cursillo movement points to religious and cultural intersections as well as commonly held values and desires among Mallorquin as well as American Christians.

Kristy is currently working on two manuscripts, the first: Latin@ Religions and the Reconquista of América is a synthesis and critical examination of U.S. Latin@ religions. In this critical examination, Kristy traces Latin@ lived religious experiences from 1848 to the present and will provide a new way to think about the genealogy of Latin@ religions in the diachronic as well as synchronic time. (To be published with The Chicago History of American Religion series, The University of Chicago Press).

Kristy's other new book project is close to home in Iowa. In Cornbelt Catholics: Latinas and the American Heartland, she focuses on  how both historically situated as well as ethnographically informed, community-based research can uncover what matters to Latinas as well as other ethnic minorities. Kristy is working with four Iowa parish communities that are working to address Latinos' needs and hopes that her research will be able to provide guidelines and guideposts for how to integrate parishes in ways that meet all constituents' needs. Kristy is conducting community based research ethnographic research for this project that is funded in part by The American Parish Project (TAPP). See 

Kristy is active in the American Academy of Religion (AAR) where she is on several steering committees. (Religion and Social Sciences (RSS); Sports and Religion; Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality). She reviews manuscripts for Columbia University Press, Cornell University Press, New York University Press, University of North Carolina Press, Yale University Press, as well as others. 

Here at UI Kristy is involved with interfaith student groups and is working with faculty and staff on an interfaith studies minor, funded in part by a grant from Interfaith Youth Corps (IFYC).  She is a member of the inaugural Humanities Committee which is working to make the Humanities more integral to the university's culture. Kristy is also working with Sally Scott, a Iowa City community leader and advocate, to form an Obermann Working Group, "Place Based Inclusion," that will being together faculty, staff, and community allies in bridging the gap between the university and the larger Iowa City community.

Kristy has been happily married to her husband, the U.S. historian Stephen Warren, since 1994. They have three young children: Cormac, Declan, and Josie, who give them great joy. She enjoys cooking vegetarian meals and baking with her children. She also likes to hike and play outside with her family, and to work out to P90X.

Selected Publications: 

(For complete list, please view Dr. Nabhan-Warren's CV)

Awards & Service: 
  • University of Iowa Obermann Center for the Humanities Working Group Grant for “Place-Based Inclusion,” 2015-2016.
  • The American Parish Project (TAPP) Selected Participant, July 25-28, 2015.
  • The Virgin of El Barrio: Marian Apparitions, Catholic Evangelizing, and Mexican American Activism (NYU Press, 2005) was nominated for the 2006 Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR) Distinguished Book Award.
  • Presidential Research Fellowship, Augustana College, Summer 2006.
  • Recipient, Faculty-Student Research Fellowship, 2005. Project with Andrea Johnson, Junior. Project title: “Understanding Lived Religion: The Intersections of Catholicism, Ethnicity, and Gender Among Contemporary Latino/a Americans.
  • Augustana College, New Faculty Research Grant, 2004-2005 academic year.
  • Ruth Halls Fellowship for Outstanding Teaching and Achievement, Indiana University, 1998.
  • RELS:4741 Varieties of American Religion
  • RELS:2090 Introduction to Catholism
  • RELS:6580 Seminar: Religion and Society
  • RELS:2090 Issues in American Catholism
  • RELS:5401 Methods and Theories in the Study of Religion
  • RELS:1702 Religion in America Today
  • RELS:6580 Seminar: Religion and Society