Concordia University

Hillary Kaell, PhD

Assistant Professor, Religions and Cultures

Office: S-R 307 
R Annex,
2050 Mackay
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2476
Website(s): Religion and the Public Square website
Dr. Kaell's personal website

Hillary Kaell completed her doctorate in American Studies at Harvard University, specializing in the history and practice of North American Christianity. Her recent book, Walking Where Jesus Walked (New York University Press, 2014) is the first comprehensive study of contemporary American Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Hillary was a Research Fellow in residence at Princeton University’s Center for the Study of Religion (2014) and was selected as a Young Scholar in American Religion by the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture (2013-2015). Currently, she sits on the executive board of the Society for the Anthropology of Religion.

She has collaborated on a number of public education projects, including as a paid consultant on the PBS television series God in America and as co-host of New Books in Religion, a monthly podcast series featuring interviews with authors. At Concordia she teaches courses related to U.S. Christian history and the anthropology of religion.

Research interests

North American Christianity
Anthropology of Christianity
Material culture and consumption



Field areas

Contemporary Religions and Popular Culture

Selected publications

Walking Where Jesus Walked: American Christians and Holy Land Pilgrimage. New York University Press, 2014.

“Under the Law of God: Mimetic Discipleship and Obligation among Christians Living Jewishly,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, forthcoming 2016.

“Seeing the Invisible: Ambient Catholicism on the Side of the Road,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, forthcoming 2016.

“Ritual Risk and Emergent Efficacy: Ethnographies of Christian Ritual,” (with Jessica Hardin), Special Issue, Journal of Contemporary Religion, October 2016.

“Can Pilgrimage Fail? Intent, Efficacy, and Evangelical Trips to the Holy Land,” Journal of Contemporary Religion, October 2016.

"Quebec's Wayside Crosses and the Creation of Contemporary Devotionalism," in eds. Lucas Van Rompay and David A. Morgan, The Long Shadow of Vatican II: Authority, Faith, and Church since the Second Vatican Council. University of North Carolina Press, 2015: 102-27.

“Born-again Seeking: Explaining the Gentile Majority in Messianic Judaism,” Religion, 45(1) 2015: 42-65.

"Taking Back the Bible": American Catholics, Scripture and the Post-Conciliar Pilgrimage," U.S. Catholic Historian, 31(4) 2013: 85-106.

"Of Gifts and Grandchildren: American Holy Land Souvenirs," Journal of Material Culture. 17(2) July 2012: 133-151.

Recent graduate seminars and reading courses

Anthropology and Religion

Back to top

© Concordia University