Kelsey Moss

Assistant Professor of Religion
Pronouns She / Her / Hers Email


  • Ph.D. Religion, Princeton University, 2018
  • M.A. Religion, Princeton University, 2015
  • B.A. African & African American Studies, Stanford University, 2010
    • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Smithsonian Institution & Georgetown University, 2018-2019
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Kelsey Christina Moss is a scholar of religious encounter, change, and exchange in the Americas and Atlantic World. Her academic work examines the intersections of religion and race through the histories of slavery and colonialism in the Spanish, Portuguese and British Americas.

    Her research explores the role of religious beliefs, institutions and practices in generating or authorizing ideologies and practices of racialization and colonial dominance in the early modern and modern eras. Conversely, it analyzes the myriad of ways that populations deemed religious and racial “others,” nonetheless actively employed and repurposed both indigenous and Christian theologies and practices to craft new religious, social and political meanings despite unequal power dynamics.

    She is currently working on a manuscript, “On Earth as it is in Heaven: Spiritual Racialiazation in the Early Americas,” that addresses these themes through an analysis of the ideologies and practices of European conversion programs aimed toward the evangelization of enslaved African populations throughout the Atlantic World. The project aims to deepen our historical and theoretical understanding of the religious and theological roots of racial inequality in the modern world.
    Her broader academic interests include African Diasporic religions, religion in colonial Latin America, religion and the natural world, and the role of religion in the development of individual and communal identities.

    Research Keywords

    religion and race; slavery and colonialism; encounter and conversion; Black Atlantic Religion; African-American history; Atlantic World Studies; early modern Christianity; critical race studies; American religious history