Angela Xia

[Angela Xia]
PhD Candidate
Contact Information
Office Address: 
Cohen Hall - Room 233
Email Address:


Angela is an ethnographer of religion motivated by two broad concerns: first, how people maintain their religious communities, particularly in periods of decline or sudden change, and second, the ways religion is used to produce, contest, and otherwise shape norms of modernity and health in the Americas. She brings both questions to bear on her studies of religion in the United States, focusing for now on practices of renewal and remembrance among urban Catholic communities, as well as among America’s aged and those who care for them. She is also interested in the historical interplay between religion, magic, and race in the 19th and 20th century America.  



Before coming to Penn, Angela received her B.A. in American Studies from Columbia University, where she researched and wrote about the efforts of American institutions (such as colleges, media outlets, and the military) to sort and school individuals into a category of being known as ’spiritual health.’

Research and Teaching Interests: 

Anthropology of religion, North American Christianity, women’s devotion and labor, organizational change, secularism studies, history of emotions and embodiment, and (more recently), religion, science, and medicine.