Dana L. Robert

Truman Collins Professor of World Christianity and History of Mission, Director of the Center for Global Christianity and Mission
(617) 353-3064
B.A. Louisiana State University
Ph.D. Yale University

Dr. Robert is Truman Collins Professor of World Christianity and History of Mission, and Director of the Center for Global Christianity and Mission. Her research and teaching interests span mission history, World Christianity, and mission theology. An Editor of the journal Church History, during 2016-17 she was a Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology,  and Senior Research Fellow at the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz, Germany. She is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  In 2017, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Missiology. Her books include African Christian Biography: Stories, Lives, and Challenges (editor, forthcoming 2018); Christian Mission: How Christianity Became a World Religion (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), now in its tenth printing; Converting Colonialism: Visions and Realities in Mission History, 1706-1914 (editor, Eerdmans 2008); Christianity: A Social and Cultural History (co-author, Prentice-Hall 2nd ed. 1997), and the now classic American Women in Mission: A Social History of Their Thought and Practice (Mercer University, 1997). She wrote the book Joy to the World!: Mission in the Age of Global Christianity for the 2010-2011 summer schools of mission for The United Methodist Church. She is on the Editorial Committee for the digital humanities project Dictionary of African Christian Biography (www.dacb.org) and the Journal of African Christian Biography. In addition to STH, she is a faculty member in African Studies and the Graduate Division of Religious Studies. Robert received her BA from Louisiana State University and her MA, MPhil, and PhD from Yale University.

Christian Mission: Foundations, Issues and Practices

World Christianity

History of Christian Mission

History of Missiology

Women in World Christianity and Mission

Readings in Contemporary Missiology


Six Part Interview With Dr. Dana Robert discussing Edinburgh 2010 and Mission.

“Live Joy”: a video companion to the Mission Study, “Joy To the World,” by Dana Robert.

Missions and the Importance of Institution-Building

PBS video “Reverse Missionaries” featuring Dr. Robert as well as an extended interview.


Joy to the World!: Mission in the Age of Global Christianity (Women’s Division, GBGM: The United Methodist Church, 2010).

Christian Mission: How Christianity Became a World Religion (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009). [Selected as one of the fifteen outstanding books in mission studies for 2009 by the International Bulletin of Missionary Research]

Converting Colonialism: Visions and Realities in Mission History, 1706-1914 (Editor) (Curzon-Eerdmans, 2008). [Selected as one of the fifteen outstanding books in mission studies for 2008 by the International Bulletin of Missionary Research]

“ Occupy Until I Come”: A.T. Pierson and the Evangelization of the World. Library of Religious Biography. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003). [Selected as one of the fifteen outstanding books in mission studies for 2003 by theInternational Bulletin of Missionary Research]  Korean translation 2004 (Seoul:  B & A Publishing).

African Christian Outreach: Vol. 2 Mission Churches. (Editor) (Pretoria: South African Missiological Society, 2003).  [Also published as April 2003 issue of Missionalia]

Frontiers of African Christianity: Essays in Honour of Inus Daneel.  Edited with G. Cuthbertson and  H. Pretorius  (Pretoria: University of South Africa Press, 2003).

Gospel Bearers, Gender Barriers: Missionary Women in the Twentieth Century (Editor) (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Press, 2002). [Selected as one of the fifteen outstanding books in mission studies for 2002 by the International Bulletin of Missionary Research, and selected as “Essential Reading” by journal Missiology]

“Evangelism as the Heart of Mission.”  Mission Evangelism Series # 1. (NY: General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, 1998).

Christianity: A Social and Cultural History, 2nd ed. (Prentice-Hall, 1997). Joint author with Howard Kee, Emily Albu, Carter Lindberg, and Jerry Frost. Author of “Christianity in the Wider World,” on Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, from the 15th through the 20th centuries.

American Women in Mission: A Social History of Their Thought and Practice.(Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1997). [Selected as one of the fifteen outstanding books in mission studies for 1997 by the International Bulletin of Missionary Research; selected as “Essential Reading” by the journal Missiology; Fourth printing]

Arthur Tappan Pierson and Evangelical Movements. (Seoul, Korea: Yangsuh Publishing Company, 1988). [in Korean]


Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions. Gerald H. Anderson, ed.  (Macmillan Library Reference, 1997).   International Advisory Board; wrote entries on: Eliza Agnew, Belle Harris Bennett, William Eugene Blackstone,  Eliza Bridgman, William and Clementina Butler, Fanny Jackson Coppin, Grace Dodge, Sarah Doremus, Mary Edwards, Hettie Fernbaugh, Welthy Honsinger Fisher, Fidelia Fiske, Alice Browne Frame, Asahel Grant, Judith Campbell Grant, Ann Hasseltine Judson, Walter Russell Lambuth, Sarah Farquhar Loveless, Arthur Tappan Pierson, Mary Reed, Phoebe Rowe, Albert Benjamin Simpson, Helen Rasmussen Springer, John McKendree Springer, John Stewart, Justus and Calista Vinton, Jonathan and Deborah Wade, Beulah and Sarah Woolston.

International Mission Bibliography. Norman Thomas, gen ed. ATLA Series. (Greenwood:  Scarecrow Press,  2003). Sub-editor for “Mission History.”  Annotated bibliography of mission studies, from 1960 to the present.


“Women in Mission: A Protestant Tradition,” New World Outlook, March 2014.

“Gender Roles and Recruitment in Southern African Churches, 1996-2001” in Communities of Faith in Africa and the African Diaspora, eds. Casely B. Essamuah and David K Ngaruiya. (Pickwick Publications, 2014).

“Forty Years of the American Society of Missiology: Retrospect and Prospect,” Missiology 42:1 (January 2014): 6-25.

“Forty Years of North American Missiology: A Brief Review,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research  38:1 (January 2014): 3-8.

Foreword, Bible in Mission, eds. Pauline Hoggarth, Fergus MacDonald, Bill Mitchell, Knud Jørgensen  (Oxford: Regnum Press, 2013).
“Witness and Unity in 21st Century World Christianity,” Transformation:  International Journal of Holistic Mission Studies  30:4 (October 2013): 243-256.

“Mission in the Global Context: Challenges and Opportunities,” in The Gift of Mission Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. Maryknoll Centennial Symposium, ed. James H. Kroeger (Orbis, 2013): 98-105.

“Reflections on Historians, Historiography, and the Confessional Divide,” Fides et Historia 44:2 (Summer/Fall 2012): 87-91.

“’Rethinking Missionaries’ from 1910 to Today,”  Methodist Review 4 (2012):57-75.

“Boston, Students, and Missions from 1810 to 2010,” in 2010Boston: The Changing Contours of World Mission and Christianity, eds. T Johnson, R Petersen, G Bellofatto, and T Myers (Wipf and Stock, 2012):13-27.

“The Giants of ‘World Christianity’: Historiographic Foundations from Latourette and Van Dusen to Andrew Walls,” in Understanding World Christianity: The Vision and Work of Andrew F. Walls, eds. William Burrows, Mark Gornik, and Janice McLean (Orbis, 2011).

“’Mission in Long Perspective,” in Edinburgh 2010: Mission Today and Tomorrow,“ eds Kirsteen Kim and Andrew Anderson (Oxford: Regnum Books, 2011):55-68.

“Reconciliation as Mission,” Focus (Winter 2011):32-37.

“Historical Trends in Missions and Earth Care,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 35:3 (2011):123-129.

“Mission Frontiers from 1910 to 2010.”

Part I: “From Geography to Justice.” Missiology, Vol. XXXIX, no. 2 (April 2011):5e-16e.

Part II: “Unbelief, Unreached, and Unknown.” Missiology, Vol XXXIX, no. 3 (July 2011):1e-12e.

With David W. Scott, “World Growth of the United Methodist Church in Comparative Perspective:

A Brief Statistical Analysis.” Methodist Review Vol. 3 (2011): 37-54.

“Cross-Cultural Friendship in the Creation of Twentieth-Century World Christianity,”  International Bulletin of Missionary Research 35:2 (2011):100-107.

“Bernard Mizeki: Missionary Saints and the Creation of Christian Communities,” Yale Divinity School Library Occasional Publication, No. 19 (Yale Divinity School Library, 2005) (revised), in World Christianity, Vol. IV, Part 22: Church Beyond Walls: The Performance of Pilgrimage, ed. Elizabeth Koepping (Routledge, 2010).

“Missionaries Worldwide, 1910-2010” in Atlas of Global Christianity, eds. Todd Johnson & Kenneth Ross (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 2009).

“World Christianity as a Women’s Movement,” Chapter 50 in Pui-lan Kwok, ed. Women and Christianity: Critical Concepts in Religious Studies, Vol. III Religious Leadership, Mission, Dialogue, and Movements (Routledge, 2009).  Reprinted from International Bulletin of Missionary Research 30:4 (2006): 180-188.

With Douglas D. Tzan, “Traditions and Transitions in Methodist Mission Thought,” Chapter 25 in Oxford Handbook of Methodist Studies, eds. William J. Abraham and James E. Kirby (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009):431-448.

Innovation and Consolidation in American Methodist Mission History,” in World Mission in the Wesleyan Spirit, eds. Darrell L. Whiteman and Gerald H. Anderson (Nashville: Providence House, 2009).

“Shifting Southward: Global Christianity since 1945,” reprint, in Robert L. Gallagher and Paul Hertig, eds., Landmark Essays in Mission and World Christianity (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2009):46-60.  This volume purports to collect the fifteen most important essays on the subject written in the last seventy years.

“The Ministry of Ezekiel Guti,” Books and Culture (March/April 2009):34-38.

“Zimbabwe Testimony,” Focus (Winter 2008-9):49-52.

“The First Globalization: The Internationalization of the Protestant Missionary Movement Between the World Wars,” in Ogbu Kalu and Alaine Low, eds., Interpreting Contemporary Christianity: Global Processes and Local Identities(Eerdmans/Curzon, 2008):93-130. Earlier version in International Bulletin of Missionary Research, April 2002.

“Foreword,” in Ogbu U.Kalu, Clio in a Sacred Garb: Essays on Christian Presence and African Responses, 1900-2000.Trenton: Africa World Press, 2008. (I edited this book as Series Editor. It was selected one of the 15 Best Books in Mission Studies for 2008, by the IBMR)

“Testimonies and Truth-tellings: Women in the United Methodist Tradition.” Keynote address at “Struggle, Faith and Vision: Celebrating Women in the United Methodist Tradition, 1788 to Today,” March 9, 2007, Nashville, Tennessee.  Edited version published in Focus (Spring 2008): 34-43.

“Shifting Southward: Global Christianity since 1945,” reprint in Paul Chilcote and Laceye Warner, eds. The Study of Evangelism: Exploring a Missional Practice of the Church (Eerdmans, 2008):117-134.

“The ‘Christian Home’ as a Cornerstone of Anglo-American Missionary Thought and Practice,” in Dana L. Robert, ed.,Converting Colonialism: Visions and Realities in Mission History, 1706-1914 (Curzon-Eerdmans, 2008):134-165.

Christianity’s Future Will be Shaped by Women,”  in Mike Wilson, ed., Christianity: Issues in Opposing Viewpoints (Greenhaven Press, 2007).

“Gender Issues,” in John Corrie, ed., Dictionary of Mission Theology: Evangelical Foundations (InterVarsity Press, 2007).

“Missionaries,” in David Levinson and Karen Christensen, eds. Global Perspectives on the United States:  Issues and Ideas Shaping International Relations, Vol 3 (Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing, 2007).

With M.L. Daneel, “Worship among Apostles and Zionists in Southern Africa,” in Charles Farhadian, ed., Christian Worship Worldwide: Expanding Horizons, Deepening Practices (Eerdmans, 2007):43-70.

“The Patrick Paradox,” Books and Culture (July-August 2007). Online at the Christian Vision Project,http://www.christianvisionproject.com/2007/08/the_patrick_paradox.html

“The Great Commission in an Age of Globalization,” in D. Jeyaraj, R Pazmino, R Petersen, eds., The Antioch Agenda: The Restorative Church at the Margins. Celebrating the Life and Work of Orlando Costas (New Delhi, India: Indian Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, 2007).

“Foreign Missions and Revivals,” in Michael McClymond, ed., Encyclopedia of Religious Revivals in America , Vol 1 (Greenwood Press, 2006):174-176.

“Where Are We Going in Mission Today?”  New World Outlook , Sept-Oct 2006.

“The Mother of Modern Missions,” Christian History and Biography (Spring 2006):22-24.

“Protestant Women Missionaries: Foreign and Home,” in Rosemary S. Keller and Rosemary R. Ruether, eds.,Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America V. 2 (Indiana U. Press, 2006), 834-843. [selected by the American Historical Association as winner of the 2006 Waldo G. Leland Prize for best reference tool in the field of history]

“Encounter with Christ: Luke as Mission Historian for the 21st Century,” in J Krabill, W Sawatsky, and C Van Engen, eds., Evangelical, Ecumenical, and Anabaptist Missiologies in Conversation (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2006), 19-27.

“St. Patrick and Bernard Mizeki: Missionary Saints and the Creation of Christian Communities,” Yale Divinity School Library Occasional Publication No. 19 (New Haven: Yale Divinity School Library, 2005).

“What Happened to the Christian Home? The Missing Component of Mission Theory,” Missiology (July 2005).

“Widows and Service,” in World Vision Faith in Action Study Bible (Zondervan, 2005):1982. [Finalist 2006 Christian Book Award]

“The Great Commission in an Age of Globalization,” in Stephen Gunter and Elaine Robinson, eds., Considering the Great Commission (Abingdon, 2005); also printed in Focus (Fall 2004).

“Evangelist or Homemaker? The Mission Strategies of Early Nineteenth-Century Missionary Wives in Burma and Hawaii,” in Wilbert R. Shenk, ed., North American Foreign Missions, 1810-1914: Theology, Theory, and Policy(Eerdmans, 2004).

“Missions,” Encyclopedia of Protestantism (Routledge, 2004). ed. H. Hillerbrand.

“Women in World Mission: Controversies and Challenges from a North American Perspective,” International Review of Mission (January 2004).

“Changing Perceptions of  Missionaries and Cultures,” Journal of Presbyterian History 81:2 (Summer 2003).

“The Mission Education Movement and the Rise of World Christianity, 1902-2002,” Focus (Spring 2003). (Plenary speech for the 100th Anniversary of the Mission Education Movement, General Assembly of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA).

“M.L. Daneel: Missionary as Folk Theologian,” in  Frontiers of African Christianity: Essays in Honour of Inus Daneel, ed. G. Cuthbertson, H. Pretorius, and D. Robert. Volume 8, African Initiatives in Christian Mission (Pretoria: University of South Africa Press, 2003).

“Gospel Bearers, Gender Barriers: Issues for Women and Mission Today,” Currents in Theology and Mission 29:4 (August 2002).

“The Influence of American Missionary Women on the World Back Home,”  Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation (V 12.1, Winter 2002).

“Missions, Foreign,” Dictionary of American History, 3rd edition  (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2002).

“Frau V,” in  Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart,V.3, 4th ed. (Tuebingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2001).

“Foreign Missions,” in Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century V.1 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2001).

“Holiness and the Missionary Vision of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1869-1894,” Methodist History, (October 2000). Korean translation in Holiness Church and Theology 11 (Spring 2004).

“Premillennialism,” in A. Scott Moreau, gen ed., The Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions (Baker Book House, 2000).

“Shifting Southward: Global Christianity Since 1945,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research (April 2000).

“Selected Annotated Bibliography: Missions: History,” Missiology (April 2000).

“The Redemption of Ham,” Focus (Fall 1999).

“’History’s Lessons for Tomorrow’s Mission’:Reflections on American Methodism in Mission,” Focus (Winter/Spring 1999). Edited version appeared as “History’s Lessons for Methodism in Mission,” New World Outlook (May-June 1999).

“Cheap Ecumenism or Apostolic Unity?” Boston Theological Institute Newsletter, December 2, 1998.

“From Mission to Missions to Beyond Missions: The Historiography of American Protestant Missions Since World War II.” In New Directions in American Religious History, eds. Harry Stout and Darryl Hart (Oxford University Press, 1997).  Earlier version appeared in International Bulletin of Missionary Research (October 1994).

“American Women and the Dutch Reformed Missionary Movement, 1874-1904,”

in Willem Saayman and Klippies Kritzinger, eds., Mission in Bold Humility: David Bosch’s Work Considered (Orbis, 1996).

“Missions,” “Mary Gamewell,” “John and Helen Springer,” “Isabella Thoburn,” “Clara Swain,” in Charles Yrigoyen, Jr., and Susan E. Warrick, eds.,  Historical Dictionary of Methodism (Scarecrow Press, 1996).

“Rufus Anderson,” “Mary Lyon,” “Ann Judson,” in Donald Lewis, ed., A Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, 1730-1860 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996).

“The Methodist Struggle Over Higher Education in Fuzhou, China, 1877-1883,” Methodist History (April 1996).

“The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in Siberia/Manchuria,” in S.T. Kimbrough, Jr., ed., Methodism in Russia and the Baltic States: History and Renewal (Nashville: Abingdon, 1995).  First published as “Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Missions to Russians in Manchuria, 1920-1927” Methodist History (January 1988).

“Mission,” in Richard Fox and James Kloppenberg, eds., A Companion to American Thought (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1995).

“The Legacy of A.J. Gordon,” “The Legacy of A.T. Pierson,” in Gerald Anderson, ed., Mission Legacies. Biographical Studies of Leaders of the Modern Missionary Movement (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1995).

“Mount Holyoke Women and the Dutch Reformed Missionary Movement, 1874-1904,”

Missionalia (August 1993).

“Revisioning the Women’s Missionary Movement,” in Charles Van Engen, Dean Gilliland, Paul Pierson, eds., The Good News of the Kingdom: Mission Theology for the Nineties (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1993).

“Evangelist or Homemaker?: The Mission Strategies of Early Nineteenth-Century Missionary Wives in Burma and Hawaii,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research (January 1993).

“A.J. Gordon and World Evangelization: Then and Now,” in Garth Rosell, ed., The Vision Continues: Essays Marking the Centennial of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (South Hamilton, MA: Gordon-Conwell, 1992).

“Epilogue: Christianity in Asia, Africa and Latin America,” in Howard C. Kee, ed., Christianity: A Social and Cultural History (New York: Macmillan, 1991).

“The Promotion of Missions,” J.D.Douglas, ed., 20th Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 2nd Edition (Baker Book House, 1991).

“’The Crisis of Missions’: Premillennial Mission Theory and the Origins of Independent Evangelical Missions,” in Joel Carpenter and Wilbert Shenk, eds., Earthen Vessels: American Evangelicals and Foreign Missions, 1880-1980 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1990).

“A.T. Pierson,” “A.J. Gordon,” “Mount Hermon One Hundred,” in Daniel G. Reid, ed., Dictionary of Christianity in America (Downers Grove,Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1990). “A.J. Gordon” reprinted in Bill J. Leonard, ed., Dictionary of Baptists in America (InterVarsity Press, 1994).

“Mission Study at the University-related Theological Seminary: The Boston University School of Theology as a Case Study,” Missiology (April 1989).

“The Legacy of A.J. Gordon,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research (October 1987).

Reprinted in J.I. Packer, ed., The Best of Theology, Vol. 3 (Carol Stream, Ill.: Christianity Today, 1989).

Reprinted in J. Christy Wilson, ed., Bringing Christ to All the World (South Hamilton, MA: Gordon-Conwell

Theological School, 1988).

“Grandmothers and the Millennium of Russian Christianity,” The Christian Century, Dec 24-31, 1986.

Reprinted in Focus, Winter 1988-89 (bulletin of the Boston University School of Theology)

“The Origin of the Student Volunteer Watchword,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research (October 1986).

“Annotated Bibliography on Mission History.” Edited with Norman Thomas, Missiology (April 1986).

“The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes: Its Importance for North America,” The Judson Bulletin (January 1986).

“African Epiphany,” Anna Howard Shaw Newsletter (Spring 1985).

“Report on Mission and Human Rights,” Written with Janice McLaughlin, Mission Studies, V.2, no. 1, 1985.

“The Legacy of A.T. Pierson,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research (July 1984).

Assorted book reviews in Religious Studies Review, Missiology, International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Methodist History, Lutheran Quarterly, America, Pacific Historical Review, The Edinburgh Review of Theology and Religion, The Princeton Seminary Bulletin, International Journal of African Historical Studies, The Journal of Religion, The Christian Century, Church History