The Richard Lyman Bushman Professorship
Kathleen Flake is the first to occupy the Professorship, after a rigorous search for a scholar whose academic pedigree, body of scholarly work, and collegial commitment would be an asset to the institution at large, as well as to the study of Mormonism. Professor Flake brings to her teaching and research a breadth of training in history, religious studies, law and English literature. She has served in positions of responsibility in national professional organizations and on the boards of scholarly journals, and has been the recipient of grants from national foundations promoting academic research. Her publications have proven to be popular among academic and general readers, and many are featured here in our Resources section.
Professor Flake’s research in the area of American Religious History focuses on the adaptive strategies of 19th and 20th century American religious communities and the effect of pluralism on religious identity; she is also interested in the constructive function of text and ritual in maintaining and adapting the identity and gendered power structures of religious communities. In the area of American Legal History, she studies the influence of American law on American religion and the theological tensions inherent in the First Amendment religious clauses. Her current project is “Mormon Matriarchy, a Study of Gendered Power in Antebellum America.” Prior to her appointment at Virginia, she taught at Vanderbilt University in both the Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion. Before becoming an academic, she litigated cases on behalf of the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Washington, D.C.