PhD. Syracuse University 2002

B.A. Williams College 1987

Mary L. Keller

Mary Keller is a historian of religion who works at the intersection of feminist theory, postcolonial theory, and Indigenous studies theory in order to study the relationship of religious lives to struggles for meaning and power. She teaches Introduction to World Religions, African Spirits in the New World, African American Religious Culture, Gilgamesh to the Bomb to Climate Change, and a field course on Heart Mountain. Keller emphasizes the geographical, historical and social context in which religious lives are embedded and then focuses on questions of personhood within religious traditions. Current research examines the role of sacred land in a world of global capital, money and agency, recent developments in theory and method in the study of spirit possession, and the religious dimensions of climate change.


Lecturer, Women and Religion, University of Stirling, Scotland 1997-2002.

Associate Professional Lecturer Religious Studies and Adjunct Lecturer African American and Diaspora Studies, University of Wyoming.

Semester at Sea, The University of Virginia, Spring 2007.

Community Engagement

2011-2019 Director of “Return to Foretop’s Father,” an annual ceremony with Apsáalooke (Crow) Pipe Lighter Grant Bulltail on Heart Mountain, Wyoming.


The Hammer and the Flute: Women, Power and Spirit Possession, Winner of the "Best First Book in the History of Religions, 2002," American Academy of Religions

Guest editor with Paul Johnson, "Special Issue: The Work of Possession(s)," Culture and Religion, 2006: 7.2.

"Indigenous Studies and the Sacred" 

in American Indian Quarterly, 2014 Vol 38, No. "Indigenous Religion: From the Origin to the Future of Religious Studies"  Macmillan Reference USA, Farmington Hills, MI, Part of the Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Religion series. 2016, 233-251,

"The Indigeneity of Spirit Possession," forthcoming, Central European University Press, New York, Budapest.