Robert Orsi

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Robert Anthony Orsi (born 1953) is a scholar of American history and Catholic studies.


Orsi was born and raised in the Bronx borough of New York City. He majored in religion and sociology at Trinity College (CT) and graduated salutatorian in 1975, receiving both a Danforth and Watson Scholarship. He attended graduate school in religion at Yale University where his prize-winning dissertation formed the basis of his first book, The Madonna of 115th Street. He taught at Fordham University at Lincoln Center from 1981 to 1988, at Indiana University from 1988 to 2001, and Harvard University/Harvard Divinity School from 2001 to 2007.[1] He currently teaches at Northwestern University.[2]

He is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Religious Studies (2011) and the author of History and Presence (2016).



  • "When 2+2=5", The American Scholar, Spring 2007
  • Between Heaven and Earth: The Religious Worlds People Make and the Scholars Who Study Them. Princeton University Press. 2005. ISBN 978-0-691-04903-8.
  • The Madonna of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, 1880-1950. Yale University Press. 2002. ISBN 978-0-300-09135-9. (1st edition 1985),
  • Thank You, Saint Jude: Women’s Devotion to the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes. Yale University Press. 1998. ISBN 978-0-300-07659-2.



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