Matthew Hedstrom

Associate Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin (American Studies)
M.A., University of Texas at Austin (American Studies)
B.A., Haverford College (History)


American Religion and Culture 19th & 20th C, Protestantism, Religious Modernity, History of the Book


Spirituality in America
Historiography of American Religion
Introduction to American Studies

Matthew is a historian of the United States specializing in religion and culture in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His central questions probe the intersections of American modernity and Protestant and post-Protestant religious modernity in the United States. He also has longstanding and ongoing interests in the history of the book, especially as it applies to American religious history. Race, religion and psychology, the history of spirituality, mass culture, religious liberalism, cosmopolitanism and internationalism all figure into his research and teaching.

He is now researching and writing a book called The Religion of Humanity: Faith, Politics, and the United Nations. This book explores the deep religious history of the United Nations—the religion of the UN as well as religion in and about the UN. The project reaches back into the nineteenth century and forward to the late twentieth, but is centrally concerned with the UN and its American religious contexts, conflicts, and constituencies in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. The long arc of the plot follows the intersecting histories of two great liberal dreams of the modern age—the religious vision of a “religion of humanity” and the political vision of world government—as they converged and diverged across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.