Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Kelly Douma Kaelin

Kelly Douma Kaelin

PhD Candidate

108 Weaver Building

University Park, PA 16802

Curriculum Vitae:


PhD Candidate in History and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
MA, Pennsylvania State University, 2018
BA, Washington and Lee University, 2016, Cum Laude
Kelly Douma Kaelin Headshot


For the 2020-2021 academic year, I am a Fulbright Fellow in residence at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, Germany.

My dissertation, “To Be Proposed as Useful: Women’s Transatlantic Marriage and Missionary Work in the Eighteenth-Century Moravian Church,” focuses on women’s participation in the Moravian Church during the eighteenth century, focusing on the intentional practice of international marriage and migration that supported their missionary work amongst enslaved populations in the Caribbean. Specifically, my project investigates why European women converted to Moravianism, how they became missionaries in the Caribbean, and how they proselytized to enslaved women once there. In taking each of their identities in turn – convert, migrant, and missionary – I aim to build an understanding of the importance of Moravian women both within their organization and in the larger context of the early modern Atlantic. By analyzing the layers of their involvement in global church expansion, this dissertation illuminates women’s necessity to the church project. I argue that Moravian theology around marriage and sex-segregated ministry required the Church to facilitate the migration of European women to their mission outposts to convert enslaved women. These interactions led to lasting Afro-Caribbean Moravian populations in the West Indies that persevered into the post-emancipation age.