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Catherine Bell papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS.2013.06.16
The Catherine Bell papers, 1965-2008 (bulk 1996-2008), document Bell’s research process as she began writing Believing and the Practice of Religion, left unfinished at the time of her death in 2008. With this book, Bell sought to spur a discussion about belief, a phenomenon that few religious scholars had addressed but that Bell held was central to the study of religion. The collection includes the unfinished manuscript and related research materials. The manuscript consists of chapter outlines, drafts of an introduction, notes, a preface, a table of contents, her thesis, and articles and presentations about belief authored by Bell.

Dates

  • 1965-2008 (bulk 1996-2008)
  • Majority of material found within 1996 - 2008

Creator

Languages

English, some research materials in French.

Access

Collection is open for research.
Access Restrictions There are no restrictions.

Publication Rights

Materials in Archives & Special Collections may be subject to copyright. All requests for permission to publish from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the University Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Archives & Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials, and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials.

Extent

4.17 linear feet (10 boxes)

Abstract

The Catherine Bell papers, 1965-2008 (bulk 1996-2008), document Bell’s research process as she began writing Believing and the Practice of Religion, left unfinished at the time of her death in 2008. With this book, Bell sought to spur a discussion about belief, a phenomenon that few religious scholars had addressed but that Bell held was central to the study of religion. The collection includes her unfinished manuscript and related research materials. The manuscript consists of chapter outlines, drafts of an introduction, notes, a preface, a table of contents, her thesis, and articles and presentations about belief authored by Bell. This collection is arranged into one series: Believing and the Practice of Religion, 1965-2008.

Biographical History

Catherine Bell (1953-2008) was a religious studies professor at Santa Clara University and an expert on ritual and Chinese religions. She completed a B.A. at Manhattanville College in 1975 and earned her M.A. (1976) and Ph.D (1983) in History of Religion from the University of Chicago Divinity School. She taught in Japan and completed post-doctoral work in Taiwan before joining the religious studies department at Santa Clara University in 1985. Bell was named the Bernard Hanley Professor of Religious Studies in 1998 and served as the chair of the department from 2000 until 2005. She retired from teaching in 2007 due to complications from multiple sclerosis. She passed away on May 23, 2008 at age 55. Bell is survived by her husband, Steven Gelber.

Bell contributed to the fields of critical theory, history of Chinese religions, liturgical theology, ritual studies, and Scripture. Her published works include Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice (1992) and Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions (1997). She served as editor and contributor to Teaching Ritual (2007). An accomplished scholar and teacher, Bell was the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the American Academy of Religion Book Award in the History of Religions, the Brutocao Award for Excellence in Curriculum Innovation, and the Godfrey Diekmann Award. In 2005, she was named Alumna of the Year by the University of Chicago Divinity School. Bell received fellowships and grants from the Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2007, Bell received a NEH fellowship to pursue the study of belief. The resulting manuscript, Believing and the Practice of Religion, was left unfinished at the time of her death.

Bibliography

Crowley, Paul. “The Department Mourns the Death of Professor Catherine Bell.” Perspectives Spring (2008): 1-2. Web. Nov 10, 2014.

Hogue, David. "Catching the Dog's Own Tail: An Essay in Honor of Catherine Bell." Religious Studies Review 36.3 (2010): 175-181. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials. Web. Nov 10, 2014.
Organizational History Santa Clara University was founded in 1851 by the Society of Jesus as Santa Clara College and is California’s oldest operating institution of higher learning. It was established on the grounds of Mission Santa Clara de Asìs, the eighth of the original 21 California missions. The college originally operated as a preparatory school and did not offer courses of collegiate rank until 1853. The institution became known as the University of Santa Clara in 1912, when the schools of engineering and law were added. For 110 years, Santa Clara University was an all-male school. In 1961, women were accepted as undergraduates and Santa Clara University became the first coeducational Catholic university in California. The number of students and faculty tripled over the next decade and the university began the largest building program in school history with eight residence halls, a student union, and an athletic stadium. In the early 1970s, the Board of Trustees voted to limit the size of the undergraduate population, an action that was intended to preserve the character and ensure the quality of the university for generations to come. In 1985, the university adopted Santa Clara University as its official name.

Bibliography

Santa Clara University. “About SCU – History.” www.scu.edu/about/history.cfm (Accessed Nov. 23, 2010)

McKevitt, Gerald, S.J. The University of Santa Clara: A History, 1851-1977. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1979.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into one series: Believing and the Practice of Religion, 1965-2008.

Physical Location

This collection is located in Santa Clara University Library's Archives & Special Collections.

Processing Information

Guide created by Shannon Hartman in 2014 and encoded by Shannon Hartman in 2015. Additional description added by Daniela Baez in 2019. Reviewed by Andrea Hoff.

Creator

Title
Catherine Bell papers
Status
completed
Date
© 2019 Santa Clara University. All rights reserved.
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English
Edition statement
2nd edition

Repository Details

Part of the Archives & Special Collections, Santa Clara University Library Repository

Contact:
Santa Clara University Library
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara California 95053-0500 USA US
408-554-5530