Laura R. Prieto

Laura R. Prieto

Visiting Professor of Women’s Studies and American Religious History
WSRP Research Associate 2017–18
Laura R. Prieto, WSRP Research Associate

Home institution

Simmons College

Research project

Bibles and Butterfly Sleeves: Women and Protestant Missions in the Philippines

This project analyzes how American women and Filipinas negotiated the tensions and ties between evangelism and imperialism in the context of diverse religious faiths and gender ideologies. Its focus is U.S. Protestant missions in the Philippines from 1898 to World War II.


Laura R. Prieto is professor of history and of women’s and gender studies at Simmons College in Boston. She holds a PhD in history from Brown University. She was recently elected a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society and won the Florence Ellen Bell Scholar Award from the United Methodist Archives and History Center in 2017. Harvard University Press published her book, At Home in the Studio: The Professionalization of Women Artists in America, in 2001.

Her ongoing research studies gender, race, and imperialism during the era of the Spanish-American War. Her most recent scholarship includes a series of essays on American and Filipina women at Protestant missions, published in Women in Transnational History (Routledge, 2016), Paradoxes of Domesticity: Christian Missionaries and Women in Asia and the Pacific (Australia National University Press, 2014), and Competing Kingdoms: Women, Nation, Mission and American Empire (Duke University Press, 2010).

While at HDS, she will continue research toward a book-length study on how “woman’s work for woman” within Protestant missions played out in the early twentieth-century Philippines. She is particularly interested in the relationships forged between colonizing and colonized women, and in using visual and material culture, from photographs to dress to devotional objects, as sources for women's lived experience.

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