Kristy Nabhan-Warren

Kristy Nabhan-Warren
Professor, V.O. and Elizabeth Kahl Figge Chair in Catholic Studies
Director of Graduate Studies
Departments of Religious Studies and Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies
PhD, Indiana University, 2001
309 Gilmore Hall
Office Hours: 
Coffee/Tea Hours: Tues 12:30-2:30; Thurs 12:30-1:30 (Spring 2020)
Curriculum Vitae: 

Professor Nabhan-Warren joined the faculty in 2012.

Kristy Nabhan-Warren is Professor and the inaugural V.O. and Elizabeth Kahl Figge Chair in Catholic Studies.

Teaching: 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 love to teach, and 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 major 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 builds upon the ethnography that went into the writing of The Virgin of El Barrio. In Cursillos in America: Catholics, Protestants and Fourth Day Spirituality (The University of North Carolina Press, 2013), Kristy explores the broadband “short course in Christianity” movement that arose in Mallorca, Spain in the 1930s and the intensive weekend experiences that have become widespread among Catholics and Protestants alike. She shows the ways that global forms of Christianity like Cursillos have made their way over to the United States and impacted American Christianity in new ways.

Current Research and Writing: Kristy is currently writing her third single-authored manuscript, Cornbelt Religion: Work, Faith, and Family in the Heartland. The book is a finely grained ethnography and historically situated study of lived religion in Cornbelt states and larger Midwest. In her new book, Kristy makes the argument that we must look at the Midwest to understand broader trends in the United States. Funding for the research and writing of Cornbelt Religion has been generously supported by The American Parish Project; The University of Iowa; and The Louisville Institute. Kristy is especially grateful to The Louisville Institute which granted her a Sabbatical Grant For Researchers (SGR) to make a 2017-2018 academic year research leave possible.

Kristy is committed to making scholarship matter and meaningful to non-academics and prides herself on writing for a wide audience. She stays true to her working class and Midwestern roots in her new book Cornbelt Religion, a thoroughly researched yet accessibly written book that will be marketed to a wide audience. She shares her moods and motivations as a Midwestern born and raised individual in her forthcoming essay with The University of Iowa Press edited volume As Far as the Eye Can See “Why Studying Religion, Migration and Work in the Heartland Matters.” Forthcoming 2018, UI Press.

Kristy is serving as Editor for the forthcoming Oxford University Press Handbook on Latino/a Christianities in the United States. The Handbook features twenty-four leading scholars in Latino/a Christianities and is forthcoming with Oxford University Press in the Fall 2020. The sponsoring OUP editor is Theo Calderara. Kristy is also co-editing, with Dr. James Bielo (Miami University of Ohio), a Special Issue of the international journal Exchange with the focus on “The Anthropology of Catholicism: Challenges and Opportunities. Forthcoming 2019. And Kristy is thrilled to be the Series Editor of the new book series “Ethnographies of Religion” with The University of North Carolina Press. She works closely with UNC Press Editor Elaine Maisner, and the series will publish two innovative ethnographies of religion each year. Look for our exciting books in upcoming years!

Service to the Profession: Kristy has been an active member of her flagship organization, The American Academy of Religion since 1994. Currently she is Co-Chair, with Dr. Nichole Renee Phillips, of the Religion and Social Science (RSS) unit. Kristy is the elected Vice-Chair of the Council of Graduate Studies in Religion (CGSR). She is also a Steering Committee Member of the journal Spiritus: A Journal of Christianity. Kristy enjoys serving as manuscript reader-reviewer for several university presses, including: New York University Press, Cornell University Press, Columbia University press, Yale University Press, The University of Illinois Press, Fordham University Press, and The University of North Carolina Press.

Life Outside of Work: Kristy has been happily married to her husband, the U.S. historian and University of Iowa History and American Studies professor Stephen Warren, since 1994. They have three children: Cormac, Declan, and Josie, who give them great joy and who keep them very busy (!) Kristy enjoys cooking vegetarian meals and baking. They enjoy travelling as a family:  locally (where they love discovering Iowa foodways and neat towns), nationally (most recently Washington, DC), and internationally (From London to Mallorca to China). Kristy also likes to hike, run long distances (even in the Iowa cold months!), and play outside with the kids and their pup Rosie. She believes that staying balanced and active is key to health happiness in life.

Research Interests: 
Catholic Studies
Selected Publications: 

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

Courses Taught: 
  • RELS:1702 Religion in America Today
  • RELS: 2877 Sport and Religion in America
  • RELS:2090 Issues in American Catholicism
  • RELS:4741 Varieties of American Religion
  • RELS:5401 Methods and Theories in the Study of Religion
  • RELS:6580 Seminar: Religion and Society
Awards, Honors and Grants: 
  • University of Iowa Fall 2017 Career Development Award.
  • The Louisville Institute Sabbatical Grant For Researchers, 2017-2018 academic year.
  • 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.