Sarah Ruble


Associate Professor in Religion

One day in college, a professor pulled me aside and asked if I intended to go to graduate school. I said I wanted to but wasn't certain whether I wanted to study history or theology. "Have you ever considered church history?" he asked. Although I wasn't certain what it entailed, I was immediately fascinated. The fascination has not died. Today I study and teach American religious history and remain intrigued by the way religion and society influence each other and by the myriad ways people combine their many commitments, beliefs and practices. My major areas of interest are nineteenth and twentieth-century evangelical Protestantism and in the history of missions.

I enjoy both my scholarship and my teaching. I recently published a book, The Gospel of Freedom and Power: Protestant Missionaries in American Culture Since 1945. I am now turning my attention to a popular history of race and religion in the United States. At Gustavus, I teach Religion in America, World Religions in America, Insiders and Outsiders in American Religion, and the Missionary Impulse in America.

As my students could tell you, I am not a native Minnesotan. This world of snow blowers, hockey, and duck, duck grey duck is new to me, but I like it. I hail from Washington State and do occasionally miss the mountains. I did my graduate work at Duke University, where in seven years I attended only two basketball games and never developed a taste for sweet tea. I did, however, pick up the habit of saying "y'all."


B.A., Seattle Pacific University, 1999; M.T.S. Duke Divinity School, 2002; Ph.D. Duke University, 2007

Areas of Expertise

Religion and Race

Courses Taught

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
REL-113 Religion in America 33 2020/SP, 2019/FA, 2017/SP, 2016/SP, 2015/FA, 2015/SP, 2014/FA, 2013/SP, 2012/FA, 2012/SP, 2011/FA, 2011/SP, 2010/FA, 2010/SP, 2009/FA, 2009/SP, 2008/FA, 2008/SP, and 2007/FA
REL-212 Christian Theologies 7 2020/SP, 2019/FA, 2019/SP, 2018/SP, 2017/FA, 2017/SP, and 2016/FA
REL-265 World Religions in America 5 2015/SP, 2013/SP, 2011/SP, 2009/SP, and 2008/SP
FTS-100 FTS:Losing My Religion 4 2018/FA, 2015/FA, 2012/FA, and 2010/FA
REL-283 Insiders and Outsiders in American Religion 4 2016/SP, 2012/SP, 2009/FA, and 2007/FA
REL-344 ST:Missionary Impulse 3 2014/FA, 2011/FA, and 2008/FA
REL-282 Perspectives on Evil, Sin, and Suffering 1 2019/SP
REL-399 Senior Thesis 1 2018/FA
REL-363 Missionary Impulse 1 2016/FA
REL-104 Religious Lives 1 2012/JN
REL-220 Religion in Minnesota 1 2010/JN