Heather D. Curtis received her doctorate in the History of Christianity and American Religion from Harvard University in 2005. She is the author of Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007) which was awarded the Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer prize from the American Society of Church History for the best first book in the History of Christianity.
Her recent book, Holy Humanitarians: American Evangelicals and Global Aid (Harvard University Press, 2018) examines the crucial role popular religious media played in the extension of US aid at home and abroad from the late-nineteenth to the early twentieth century. Drawing on rigorous archival research, Curtis lays bare the theological motivations, social forces, cultural assumptions, business calculations, and political dynamics that shaped Americans' ambivalent embrace of evangelical philanthropy during a pivotal period in the nation's history. In the process she uncovers the seeds of today's heated debates over the politics of poverty relief and international aid.
Curtis has also published articles on the global expansion of American evangelicalism, pentecostalism, religion and science, and Christian spirituality in a variety of academic journals, books, and online venues. She recently served as a senior editor for the Oxford Encyclopedia of Religion in America.
Her work has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University, the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving, the Lilly Endowment, the Louisville Institute, and the Young Scholars in American Religion Program.
- ThD Harvard University
- MA Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
- BA University of Virginia
- History of Christianity
- American Religious History
- History of Protestant Spirituality
- Global Christianity
- American Religious History
- Religion, Humanitarianism and Philanthropy
- Religion, Health and Healing
- Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity
- Religion and Reform Movements
- Gender and Women's Studies in Religion
Selected Honors and Awards
Selected Publications and Presentations
- Holy Humanitarians: American Evangelicals and Global Aid (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018).
- Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900 (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007). Winner of the Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize from the American Society of Church History for the best first book in the History of Christianity, 2007.
- "Popular Media and the Global Expansion of American Evangelicalism in an Imperial Age," Journal of American Studies 51 (2017): 1043-1067.
- "Depicting Distant Suffering: Evangelicals and the Politics of Pictorial Humanitarianism in the Age of American Empire," Material Religion: the Journal of Objects, Art and Belief 8:2 (June 2012): 154-183.
- "'God is Not Affected by the Depression': Pentecostal Missions during the 1930s," Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture (September 2011): 579-589.
- "A Sane Gospel: Radical Evangelicals, Psychology, and Pentecostal Revivals in the early 20th Century," Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation 21:2 (Summer 2011): 195-226.
- "Houses of Healing: Sacred Space, Spiritual Practice and the Transformation of Female Suffering in the Faith Cure Movement, 1870-1890," Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture (September 2006): 598-611.
- "Visions of Self, Success and Society among Young Men in Antebellum Boston," Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture (September 2004): 613-634.
Selected Essays in Peer Reviewed Books:
- "'There Are No Secular Events': Popular Media & the Diverging Paths of British & American Evangelicalism," in Secularization and Religious Innovation in the North Atlantic World ed. David Hempton and Hugh McLeod (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017), 80-99.
- "Picturing Pain: Evangelicals and the Politics of Pictorial Humanitarianism in an Imperial Age," in Humanitarian Photography: A History, ed. Heide Fehrenbach and Davide Rodogno (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 22-46.
- "Theologies of Evolution and Cooperation in Late-Nineteenth-Century America," in Evolution, Games and God: The Principle of Cooperation, eds. Sarah Coakley and Martin Nowak (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013).
- "The Global Character of Nineteenth-Century Divine Healing," in Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing, ed. Candy Gunther-Brown with a forward by Harvey Cox (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 29-46.
- "'Acting Faith': Practices of Religious Healing in Late-Nineteenth-Century Protestantism," in Practicing Protestants: Histories of the Christian Life in America, ed. Laurie Maffly-Kipp, Leigh Schmidt, and Mark Valeri (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), 137-158.