Anthony Petro

Petro145 Bay State Road, Suite 401
Boston, MA 02215
T: 617.353.3088; F: 617.358.3087
Spring 2018 Office Hours: Wednesday 12:30-2;
Thursday 3:30-5;  All office hours by appointment at:


Anthony Petro (Ph.D., Religion, Princeton University) is an assistant professor in the Department of Religion and in the Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program. His teaching and research interests include religion and culture in the United States; religion, medicine, and public health; and gender and sexuality studies. His first book, After the Wrath of God: AIDS, Sexuality, and American Religion (Oxford, 2015), investigates the history of U.S. American religious responses to the HIV/AIDS crisis and their role in the promotion of a national moral discourse on sex. He has published essays on a number of topics, including histories of Catholic sexual abuse, critical disability studies and religion, the religious politics of camp, and approaches to studying race, gender, and sexuality in North American religion.

Petro is currently developing two projects that engage questions about religion and secularism, the cultural politics of morality, and religious formations of bodies in the modern U.S. The first, called Provoking Religion: Sex, Artand the Sacred in Modern America, traces heated debates over sex, art, and religion to reveal competing genealogies of the sacred and the secular in the modern U.S., especially during the heyday of the culture wars. It also explores how a range of feminist and queer artists have engaged religious themes and rituals in their work, spanning from Judy Chicago’s 1979 “The Dinner Party” to the controversy surrounding David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in the Belly as part of 2010’s “Hide/Seek” exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. Provoking Religion explores how this archive of visual and performance art helps us to rethink key categories in the study of religion and in gender and sexuality studies.

A second project looks at the history of U.S. Christian engagements with health and disability policy in the U.S. since the 1950s. It demonstrates how Christian leaders and activists have shaped cultural understandings of health and moral citizenship through debates about topics such as alcoholism, end of life care, disability rights, vaccination, abortion, and the war on drugs.

Before coming to BU, Petro served as an assistant professor / faculty fellow in NYU’s Program in Religious Studies. For the last five years, he has co-chaired an interdisciplinary seminar called “Global Perspectives on Religion and HIV/AIDS” for the American Academy of Religion.

Complete CV


afterthewrathofgodAfter the Wrath of God: AIDS, Sexuality, and American Religion
By: Anthony M. Petro
July 1, 2015
Oxford University Press
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After the Wrath of God: An Interview with Anthony Petro

  • CAS RN 100 Introduction to Religion
  • CAS RN 111 Multireligious America
  • CAS RN 209 Religion, Health and Medicine
  • CAS RN 212 Christianity
  • CAS RN 368/638 American Evangelicalism
  • CAS RN 427/727  Topics in American Religion
  • GRS RN 795 Humanities Approaches to Religion