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Kathryn Barush
Thomas E. Bertelsen, Jr. Professor of Art History and Religion

Dr. Kathryn Barush brings her training in art history and material culture to bear on studies of theology and religion. She holds a D.Phil. in modern history and an M.St. in the history of art and visual culture, both from Wadham College, University of Oxford, and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College where she studied creative writing, art history, and religion.  She has experience planning and leading art-infused student pilgrimages, ranging in length from guided day trips to longer journeys along the Camino Ignaciano in Spain and Italy. In addition to these practical applications, she has published extensively on the theory of pilgrimage, especially as it relates to art experience; her work in this area has culminated in a number of articles in both scholarly and public-facing journals, and three completed books (two authored and one edited). Her recent project, Imaging Pilgrimage: Art as Embodied Experience (Bloomsbury, 2021) was endorsed as ‘a vivid and vital evocation of the visual cultures of contemporary pilgrimage – the place of pilgrim frame of mind in current art production and the ways contemporary art itself enables and develops the pilgrimage process in the modern world.’ (Jas Elsner, University of Chicago).   Dr. Barush’s current project looks at how sustainable heritage foods can engender a sense of communitas across cultures and time.

Prior to taking up the Bertelsen Chair at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, Dr. Barush was a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC where she contributed to a Mellon-funded digital humanities initiative under the direction of Therese O’Malley. Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, the Leverhulme Foundation, and the George Greenia Fellowship for Pilgrimage Studies. 

Dr. Barush is the founding director of the Berkeley Art and Interreligious Pilgrimage Project, launched in the summer of 2022.  BAIPP seeks to relate sacred sites across the world with local neighborhoods, gardens, and backyards; we see this landscape symbiosis as an integrative healing ritual that can form community. 

  • Art and Pilgrimage
  • Marian Art
  • Engaging the Arts in Religion & Theology Dissertations
  • Camino Ignaciano
  • History of Christianity in 50 Objects

Imaging Pilgrimage: Art as Embodied Experience (New York: Bloomsbury Visual Culture, August 2021, PB 2023), 286 pages.

  • Religion and the Arts Book Award, American Academy of Religion, 2022
  • Recipient, Borsch-Rast Book Prize and Lectureship

Art and the Sacred Journey in Britain, 1790- 1850 (London: Routledge, 2016 PB 2019), 278 pages.

  • Book of the Year list, Times Literary Supplement
  • Finalist, AAR Best First Book in the History of Religions

‘Contemporary Art as Pilgrimage and Site: Ambrosio’s As Far as the Eye Can Travel Zine Project’ in Ronald Bernier and Rachel Smith (eds.), Religion and Contemporary Art (New York: Routledge), 2023.

 ‘The Ghosts of Past and Future along England’s Old Way,’ in Ian MacIntosh and Daniel Olsen (eds.), New Routes and Trails (Bern: Peter Lang), 2023.

 ‘Art as Pilgrimage, Pilgrimage as Art’ (with Hung Pham, SJ) in André Brouillette and Jeff Bloechel (eds.), Pilgrimage as Spiritual Practice: A Handbook for Teachers, Wayfarers, and Guides (Minneapolis: Fortress), August 2022, pp. 61-82.

 ‘The Afterlife of Becket in the Modern Imagination,’ Journal of the British Archaeological Association, vol. 173, issue 1, August 2020, pp. 204-217.

 ‘As coronavirus curtails travel, backyard pilgrimages become the way to a spiritual journey,’ The Conversation, August 2020.

 ‘No Boots Required,The Brooklyn Rail, March 2020.

‘Labyrinths as an Embodied Pilgrimage Experience: an Ignatian Case Study’ in Christopher Ocker and Susanna Elm (eds.), Material Christianity: Western Religions and the Agency of Things (Cham: Springer), 2020, pp. 197-222.

 ‘Mapping the Spiritual Exercises Along the Camino Ignaciano’ (with Hung Pham, SJ) in Eduardo Fernandez, SJ and Deborah Ross, with Stephen Bevans (eds.) Doing Theology as if People Mattered: Encounters in Contextual Theology, Crossroad (New York: Herder & Herder), 2019, 123-146.

 ‘A Pilgrim in the Park: Sacred Space in Lewis Miller’s “Guide to Central Park”’ Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, Vol. 12, No. 1, Spring, 2013.

‘Visions of Mortality,’ Apollo: The International Art Magazine, Col. CLXXVII No. 605, January, 2013, pp. 56-62.


Phone: (510) 549-5010
Office hours by appointment, room 201
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