Wendy Cadge is a Professor in the Sociology Department and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at Brandeis University. She received her BA from Swarthmore College with majors in religion, sociology and anthropology, and her MA and PhD in sociology from Princeton University.


Her research explores issues in contemporary American religion. She is currently working on a series of projects about how religion is present in public institutions including ports, airports, healthcare organizations, institutions of higher education, and other sites. Her current book project, God Around the Edges? Moral Frameworks in Times of Crisis, asks who chaplains are and what scholars can learn about how people make sense of suffering by analyzing their daily work. It is based on several years of ethnographic and historical research in Boston.

Other lines of research explore how religion and spirituality are present in healthcare organizations (see Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine), how hospital ethics committees do their work, and how healthcare professionals make sense of their work. Cadge’s first book, Heartwood: The First Generation of Theravada Buddhism in America, examined how immigrant Buddhists from Thailand and mostly white convert Buddhists understand and practice Buddhism in the United States. She has also written about medical studies of intercessory prayer, religion and immigration, immigrants in small cities, conflicts over homosexuality in mainline Protestant churches, same-sex marriage, and religion in the non-profit sector.


Cadge teaches graduate and undergraduate courses at Brandeis University and provides continuing education for healthcare professionals. At Brandeis University she won the Michael Walzer ’56 Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008 and the Dean of Arts and Sciences Mentoring Award for Outstanding Teaching of Students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 2012. She regularly lectures across the country, and the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab she founded brings together chaplains, social scientists, educators and members of the public to improve spiritual care nationally. In 2013 she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Professional Chaplains.


Professor Cadge is a member of the American Sociological Association (ASA), the American Academy of Religion (AAR), the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR) and the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC). She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Innovations in Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care Program Unit of the AAR. She is a previous chair of the Religion Section and the Committee on Professional Ethics of the American Sociological Association. She is a Consulting Editor of the American Journal of Sociology. At Brandeis, she is the Senior Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and the Social Science Division Head in the School of Arts & Sciences. She served as Chair of the Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Program from 2013-2018, a Faculty Representative to the Board of Trustees from 2014-2019, and co-chair of the Faculty Governance Task Force from 2017-2019.


Sociologist Wendy Cadge *02 Takes a Closer Look at Chaplaincy

Wendy Cadge on Spirituality, Religion and Medicine

Scholar Pursues Heart of Religious Beliefs Across Cultural Institutions