Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez

Associate Professor of Instruction and Undergraduate Program Director in Philadelphia, PA

Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez

Associate Professor of Instruction and Undergraduate Program Director in Philadelphia, PA

Read my book

"The failure of Americans to understand other religions poses one of the greatest challenges to our public diplomacy"- Madeline Albright, 1st female U.S. Secretary of State, former US Ambassador to the UN, The Mighty & the Almighty, 2003

"In fact, if I went back to college today, I think I would probably major in comparative religion because that’s how integrated [religion] is in everything that we are working on & deciding & thinking about in life today.”- John Kerry, 68th U.S. Secretary of State, former US Senator from Massachusetts

I am the Undergraduate Program Director for the Department of Religion at Temple University. My students want to be researchers, journalists, lawyers, medical professionals, social workers, business leaders, & politicians who can accurately think & talk about the role religions play in society. I love teaching & learning from them. I also love pursuing my own research on the boundaries of religious communities & how religious worldviews shape individual identities.

My first book, The Valiant Woman: The Virgin Mary in Nineteenth-Century American Cultureis available from UNC Press. The book reveals how 19th c. Protestants were surprisingly & deeply fascinated with the Virgin Mary, even as her role as a devotional figure who united American Catholics grew. Documenting the vivid Marian imagery that suffused popular culture, it argues that Mary became a potent, shared exemplar of womanhood around which Christians of all stripes rallied during an era filled with anxiety about the emerging market economy & shifting gender roles.

I am currently working on a book about religion & mental health in 19th and 20th c. America. As the field of psychiatry developed, religious communities had to contend with new terminology & professionals who offered a new vision of human flourishing & tools for spiritual & emotional healing. The book tells the story of what they borrowed, what they contributed, & where they drew the line.

While the shore will always be my home, I love the vitality of cities. Having lived in Manhattan, Chicago, & Brooklyn, my family & I are enjoying the historically & culturally rich city of Philadelphia.

When not researching & teaching, I enjoy traveling & exploring with my husband & three children.

  • Work
    • Temple University
  • Education
    • University of Chicago, Divinity School
    • Wellesley College