Ann Taves

Ann Taves Named Alumna of the Year 2012



Dean Margaret M. Mitchell announced today that the Board of Trustees of the Baptist Theological Union has named Ann Taves, AM 1979, Ph.D. 1983 (History of Christianity) the Divinity School's Alumna of the Year for 2012.

Taves is Professor of Religious Studies and holder of the Virgil Cordano OFM Chair in Catholic Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, a position she has held since 2005. Previously she taught at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate School.

Her major publications include Religious Experience Reconsidered: A Building Block Approach to the Study of Religion and Other Special Things (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009), which received the 2010 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion; Fits, Trances and Visions: Experiencing Religion and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James (Princeton: Princeton, 1999), which received the Outstanding Professional and Scholarly Book Award in Philosophy and Religion from the Association of American Publishers in 2000; and The Household of Faith: Roman Catholic Devotions in Mid-Nineteenth Century America (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1986).

Over the years, the focus of Taves's research has shifted from answering historical questions about religion to using historical materials to explore how people make sense of ambiguous events and experiences that inhabit the indeterminate space between imagination and reality. Working comparatively, she addresses questions in the study of religion using the perspectives of the humanities and the social and natural sciences. Her current research project is entitled Revelatory Events: Novel Experiences and the Emergence of New Religious Movements.

In 2011, Taves was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She served as chair of the American Academy of Religion in 2010. In 2008-09 she was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Taves will deliver the 2012 Alumna of the Year address -- "Joseph Smith and the Discovery of the Golden Plates: The Role of Skilled Perception in the Making of Special Things" -- on Thursday, May 3, 2012, at 4 pm in Swift Lecture Hall with a reception to follow.

At noon Professor Taves will be presenting the Spring Quarter's Craft of Teaching seminar, held in conjunction with the Office of the Dean and the American Religious History Workshop. Please see more information about this event: