Philosophy and World Religions

Faculty: Cara Burnidge

Associate Professor of Religion

Cara Burnidge"Growing up in rural southeast Kansas, I never had anyone explain religion to me. Religion just seemed to be around, unexplained, all the time. Neighbors, friends, and family members said it shaped their daily lives and weekly activities, it determined their political allegiances, and it was the glue that held their family together. Religion was powerful and pervasive, but it was not until I was in college that I got to study what 'it' was. Since then, I have not stopped. I understand 'religion' to be a flexible word that means different things to different people in different times and places. I see 'religion' as a collection of ideas that needed constant attention to definition and interpretation. Since religion so often goes unexplained and assumed (we know 'it' when we see 'it'), my classroom is a place where we can step back, look at the world around us, ask questions about 'it,' and think about 'it' from a variety of perspectives."


Bartlett 1101

(319) 273-2220


Ph.D., Religion, Florida State University

MA, Religion, Florida State University

BA, History, Washburn University (Topeka, KS)

Research and Teaching Interests:

My research and teaching interests are in the history of religion in the United States. This primarily includes religion in U.S. politics, especially foreign relations, and, secondarily, Islam in the United States. These interests encourage me to think critically about American identity in a global context and the role of religion in international affairs.

Regularly Taught Classes: Religions of the World, Religion in America, Religion & Politics
In Process: Currently, I am a part of two working groups that are shaping my research projects. Since 2013, I have been a part of the Religion & US Empire Seminar hosted by the Kripke Center for the Study of Religion and Society at Creighton University. In 2016, I was selected as a member of the recent Young Scholars of American Religion class sponsored by the Center for Religion and American Culture at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. Through these two groups, and a 2014 UNI Faculty Summer Fellowship, I am working on a journal article about the history of the U.S. State Department's use of religion as a category of international diplomacy, focusing especially on US diplomatic missions in Syria and Palestine in the 1920s and 1930s.
Selected Publications:


A Peaceful Conquest: Woodrow Wilson, Religion, and the New World Order (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, [October] 2016).

Associate Editor, America in the World, 1776 to the Present, ed. Edward Blum (Farmington Hills, MI: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2016).

Refereed Articles:

"Woodrow Wilson's Christian Internationalism and the Pursuit of a Just and Lasting Peace," Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal 101 Iss. 3 (2018), 219 - 237.

"U.S. Foreign Relations and American Religious Liberalism," in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion in America, ed. John Corrigan (Open Access Publication, 2017)

"Religious Influences on U.S. Foreign Policy," in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History, ed. Jon Butler (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016).

"The Business of Church and State: Social Christianity in Woodrow Wilson's White House," Forum: Religion and American Public Life: Presidential Expressions of Christianity, Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture 83, no. 3 (September 2013): 659-666.

"Following in His Steps: Kansas, the Kingdom of God, and Charles M. Sheldon's Homiletic Novels" Americana: The Journal of American Popular Culture, 1900-present 11, no. 1 (Spring 2012),