About

Kathleen Flake PhotoI am an historian of religion in nineteenth and twentieth-century North America and am presently on the faculty of the University of Virginia’s Department of Religious Studies.  My work, both in the classroom and on paper, analyzes the adaptive strategies of 19th- and 20th-century American religious communities and the effect of pluralism on religious practice and identity.

My research focuses on the strategies by which religious communities maintain a sense of fidelity to an originating vision, while changing over time.  Having been an attorney, I am drawn also to questions related to the influence of law on religion and the tensions inherent in the First Amendment religion clauses. My present book project brings all of these interests together in a study of Mormonism’s plural marriages.