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Faculty Directory

Kathryn Barush

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

Core Doctoral Faculty
At the GTU since
(510) 549-5010

Kathryn Barush takes a cross-disciplinary 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.

Dr. Barush received a D.Phil. from the 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 a curatorial assistant in the department of Prints and Drawings 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 (under contract with Bloomsbury Academic) 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 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.


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 (under contract with Bloomsbury Academic, forthcoming 2020);
  • Art and the Sacred Journey in Britain, 1790- 1850 (London: Routledge, 2016).
  • ‘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)
  • ‘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 (January, 2013).
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)