About

My name is Kate and I’m a historian at Duke Divinity School. My wordy title is that I am an assistant professor of the history of Christianity in North America. My book, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel (Oxford University Press, 2013), received widespread media attention as the first history of the movement based on divine promises of health, wealth, and happiness.

I researched and traveled Canada and the United States interviewing megachurch leaders and everyday believers about how they make spiritual meaning of the good or bad in their lives. My work on the prosperity gospel has been featured in the New York Times, The New Republic, The Guardian, TIME Magazine, The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Post, NPR, and the BBC.

Blessed, A History of the American Prosperity Gospel

In 2015, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer at age 35. In this New York Times op-ed, I write about the irony of being an expert in health, wealth and happiness while being ill.

Read the New York Times Article

Everything Happens For a Reason and other lies I've loved

Everything Happens for a Reason

My memoir, Everything Happens for a Reason (and other lies I’ve loved) (Random House, 2018), tells the story of my struggle to understand the personal and intellectual dimensions of the American belief that all tragedies are tests of character.

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I recently received a sabbatical grant for researchers from The Louisville Institute to write my third forthcoming book with Princeton University Press called The Preacher’s Wife: Women and Power in American Megaministry. It follows the rise of celebrity Christian women in American evangelicalism. Whether they stand alone or beside their husbands, they are leading women who play many parts: faithful wife, spiritual authority, and Hollywood celebrity.