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Mary Dunn, Ph.D.

Theological Studies

Center for Research on Global Catholicism

Office Hours

Tu: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Courses Taught

Theories and Methods; Modern Seminar: Intimacies; Survey of Modern Christianity; Women in the Bible; Virgins, Martyrs, and Heretics; Theological Foundations; Mapping the Territory: Theory and Method in Theology and Religious Studies; Senior Research Seminar; Sensing Religion


B.A., Columbia University, 1998

J.D., Harvard University, 2001

M.T.S., Harvard University, 2002

Ph.D., Harvard University, 2008

Research Interests

  • History of Early Modern Christianity
  • Saints and Sanctity
  • Catholicism in France and New France
  • Theory and Method in Religious Studies
  • Sickness and disability; motherhood studies

Labs and Facilities

Professor Dunn's ACADEMIA Site

Publications and Media Placements


The Enfants Trouvés of Quebec: 1800-1845, in progress.

Where Paralytics Walk and the Blind See: Stories of Sickness and Disability at the Juncture of Worlds
, Princeton University Press, 2022

Religious Intimacies: Intersubjectivity in the Modern Christian West, edited with Brenna Moore, Indiana University Press, 2020

“The Cruelest of All Mothers”: Marie de l’Incarnation, Motherhood, and the Christian Tradition, Fordham University Press, 2016.

From Mother to Son: Selected Letters from Marie de l’Incarnation to Claude Martin, Oxford University Press, 2014 

Selected Essays

 “The Origin Myth of Religious Studies,” Body and Religion, forthcoming.  

“Sixteen and Possessed,” Spiritus: a Journal of Christian Spirituality 22, no, 2 (Fall 2022): 232-251

"Playing with Religion: Delight at the Border Between Epistemological Worlds,”Journal of the American Academy of Religion 89, no. 4 (December 2021): 1208-1228. 

"The Impossible Irony of Vatican I," Harvard Theological Review 113, no. 1 (Jan. 2020): 138-145.

"Bedside Manners: Sickness and the Jesuit Mission in Early Modern New France," Journal of Jesuit Studies 5, no. 4 (Nov. 2018): 567-585. 

“Rethinking Agency after the Relational Turn,” The Journal of Religion 97, no. 3 (July 2017): 345-359.  

“What Really Happened: Radical Empiricism and the Historian of Religion,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 84, no. 4 (December 2016): 881-902.  

“Neither One Thing nor the Other: Discursive Polyvalence and Representations of Amerindian Women in the Jesuit Relations,” Journal of Jesuit Studies 3 (2016): 179-196. 

“‘But an Echo’?: Claude Martin, Marie de l’Incarnation, and Female Religious Identity in Seventeenth-Century New France,” The Catholic Historical Review 100, no. 3 (Summer 2014): 459-485. 

“Mysticism, Motherhood, and Pathological Narcissism? A Kohutian Analysis of Marie de l’Incarnation,” The Journal of Religion and Health 52, no. 2 (2013): 642-656. 

“‘The Cruelest of All Mothers’: Marie de l’Incarnation, Motherhood, and Christian Discipleship,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 28, no. 1 (2012): 43-62. 

“When ‘Wolves Become Lambs’: Hybridity and the ‘Savage’ in the Letters of Marie de l’Incarnation,” The Seventeenth Century 27, no. 1 (Spring 2012): 104-120. 

“‘A Devotion Which… Distinguishes this People from all Others’: The Cult of Saint Anne and the Making of the Colonial Community in Seventeenth-Century New France,” Quebec Studies 51 (Spring/Summer 2011): 3-20. 

“The Miracles at Saint-Anne-du-Petit-Cap and Colonial Community Identity,” Canadian Historical Review 91.4 (December 2010): 611-635. 

Honors and Awards

  • Faculty Research Leave; Mellon Faculty Development Grant;
  • Presidential Fellowship (Harvard University); Phi Beta Kappa.
  • NEH Summer Fellowship Nominee; 2022
  • Big Idea Award, $19,000; 2021
  • Beaumont Scholarship Research Award, $3748.56; 2021
  • Stolle Fund Award, $1900; 2021
  • Research Growth Fund Award, $28,000; 2019
  • John Foley Conference Competition, $30,000; 2018
  • Excellence in Graduate Mentoring Award Nominee, 2018

Professional Organizations and Associations

  • American Academy of Religion
  • American Catholic Historical Association