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.
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 persistant health problems. She passed away on May 23, 2008 at age 55. Bell is survived by her husband, Steven Gelber.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.
4.17 linear feet,
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.
Collection is open for research.