International Studies Program faculty

Mara Willard

Visiting Assistant Professor


Faculty Profile

Dr. Mara Willard serves the International Studies Program in the area of religion, theology, and ethics. From 2017-2018 she was a Visiting Scholar at Boston College's Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life and remains a participant in its programming. From 2015-2017, Dr. Willard was an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma, where she was also affiliated with Jewish Studies and Women's and Gender Studies. Her research focuses on the intersection of religion, ethics, and politics in the twentieth century. Her first book, Politics after the Death of God (currently under review by Oxford University Press), presents a fresh reading of Hannah Arendt, demonstrating that Arendt's diagnoses and proposed cures for modern state violence made creative use of intra-and post-Christian theological debates. Willard received a B.A. in history from Swarthmore College, holds an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School and Ph.D. from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She has worked professionally in Washington D.C. with the global organization Ashoka and the Advisory Board Company, and done project work on conflict alleviation and recovery with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and USAID. Dr. Willard serves the guild of religious studies as a board-appointed member of the American Academy of Religion's Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion. She grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, and has vivid childhood memories of sitting in traffic on Boston College game days. She lives in Arlington with her spouse Chris Railey and their two boys.