Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Minnesota
Website URL
History, Religion, Slavery, Christianity, Atlantic World, Early America, Caribbean, African Diaspora, Conversion
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am a historian of religion, race, and slavery. I work as an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, where I teach courses on Atlantic History, History of Religions, Magic & Medicine, and The Early Modern Archive.

My research explores the religious dimensions of race, authority, and freedom in early America, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic world. My first book, Christian Slavery: Conversion and Race in the Protestant Atlantic World, shows how debates between slave-owners, black Christians, and missionaries transformed the practice of Protestantism and the language of race.

I’m currently working on a few different projects. “Constructing Religion, Defining Crime,” examines how some non-European religions – particularly those that were practiced under slavery – have been excluded from the category of religion and criminalized over the past three centuries.

I’ve also been working on an article about Missionaries and Maroons, which takes a micro-historical look at how and why maroon leaders sought to create alliances with Christian missionaries. Another project, called “Caribbean Reformations,” asks what happens to our understanding of the Protestant Reformation when we include the Caribbean, and the enslaved and free blacks who converted to Protestantism, into our understanding of the long Reformation.

Recent Publications

Christian Slavery: Conversion and Race in the Protestant Atlantic World (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018)

Missionary Encounters in the Atlantic World: Gerbner, Katharine, Karin Vélez, Journal of Early Modern History, 21 , 2017.

Theorizing Conversion: Christianity, Colonization, and Consciousness in the Early Modern Atlantic World. Gerbner, Katharine, Author, 2015. Download

“‘They Call Me Obea’: German Moravian Missionaries and Afro-Caribbean Religion in Jamaica, 1754-1760: Gerbner, Katharine, Atlantic Studies , 12 160-178, 2015. Download

Beyond the ‘Halfway Covenant’: Church Membership, Extended Baptism, and Outreach in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1656-1667: Gerbner, Katharine, The New England Quarterly, 85 281-301, 2012.

Antislavery in Print: The Germantown Protest, the ‘Exhortation,’ and the Seventeenth-Century Quaker Debate on Slavery,: Gerbner, Katharine, Early American Studies, 9 552-575, 2011. Download

The Ultimate Sin: Christianising Slaves on Seventeenth Century Barbados: Gerbner, Katharine, Slavery & Abolition, 31 57-73, 2010. Download

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
Atlantic, Caribbean, United States
Expertise by Chronology
17th century, 18th century, 19th century, Early Modern
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Race, Rebellion & Revolution, Religion