Faculty Directory

Kathryn Barush

Thomas E. Bertelsen Jr. Professor of Art History and Religion

Core Doctoral Faculty
At the GTU since

Dr. Barush received a D.Phil. from Wadham College, University of Oxford in 2012 and has held positions as Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and as curatorial assistant at the Yale University Center for British Art.  She is the author of the monograph Art and the Sacred Journey in Britain, 1790-1850 (London: Routledge). Shifting the focus to the present day, Dr. Barush's current book project (Imaging Pilgrimage: Art as Embodied Experience, Bloomsbury Visual Culture) explores the transfer of 'spirit' from sites to representations through a critical examination of contemporary art (including assemblages of souvenirs, built environments, and reconstructions of sacred sites) created after or during pilgrimages with the intent to engender the experience for others. 

Dr. Barush takes an interdisciplinary approach to art history and is especially interested in expressions of belief across a number of religious traditions. She values a contextual and hands-on approach to learning - her students closely study ritual objects and sacred artworks up-close and in person wherever possible. Such objects, especially in places of prayer and worship but also as re-contextualized in the secular space of public museums, offer crucial insights into the study of historic and contemporary lived religion, devotional practice, and popular piety.

In addition to her research and writing, Dr. Barush is an advisor to the British Pilgrimage Trust and a member of the advisory network of the Yale Center for Material and Visual Cultures of Religion. She is also an avid walker and has led a group of graduate student pilgrims along the Camino Ignaciano in Spain.  

Follow Dr. Barush' adventures and research on Twitter @pilgrim_travels

Degrees and Certifications

DPhil, University of Oxford, 2012
MSt/MA, University of Oxford, 2007
BA, Sarah Lawrence College, 2003


Research and Teaching Interests
  • History of Art and Architecture 
  • Material Culture of Religion 
  • Pilgrimage Studies
Selected Publications


  • Imaging Pilgrimage: Art as Embodied Experience (London: Bloomsbury Visual Culture, August 2021). For reviews, more information, and to order, click here.
  • Art and the Sacred Journey in Britain, 1790- 1850 (London: Routledge, 2016).

Chapters in Books

  • “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; Sophia Studies in Cross-Cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures), 2020.
  • “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, New York:  Herder & Herder, 2019.
  • “Painting the Scene,” The Oxford Handbook of the Georgian Theatre 1737-1832, Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2014.


  • The Afterlife of Becket in the Modern Imagination,” Journal of the British Archaeological Association, Special issue: “The Cult of St Thomas Becket: Art, Relics and Liturgy in Britain and Europe” (August 2020).
  • 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).
  • “Enacting the Glastonbury Pilgrimage through Communitas and Visual/Aural Culture,” International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage, Vol. 6, Issue 2:  What is Pilgrimage? (July, 2018).
  • “The Root of the Route: Phil’s Camino Project and the Catholic Tradition of Surrogate Pilgrimage,”  Practical Matters: A Journal of Religious Practices and Practical Theology (June, 2016).
  • “Visions of Mortality,” Apollo: The International Art Magazine (January, 2013).
  • “James Barry, William Godwin, and ‘the language of forms’,” The Bodleian Library Record, Vol. 24 No. 1 (April, 2011).


  • Dionigi Albera and John Eade (eds.) New Pathways in Pilgrimage Studies: Global Perspectives (Routledge, 2019), Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Beliefs (February, 2018).
  • Aidan Hart, Beauty, Spirit, Matter: Icons in the Modern World (Gracewing, 2014), Theological Studies, Vol. 76, No. 4 (December 2015).
  • Edward Short, Newman and his Family (Bloomsbury, 2014), Theological Studies, Vol. 76, No. 2 (June, 2015).
  • “Crossing Cultures, Crossing Time: The Ashmolean Redevelopment”, British Association for Romantic Studies Bulletin and Review (October, 2009).

Other Projects and Collaborations

Courses Taught
  • Composing Sacred Spaces 
  • Art and Pilgrimage 
  • History of Christianity in 50 Objects 
  • Tolkien and the Visual Arts 
  • Departmental Seminar (Theories & Methods in the Study of Religion)