Theresa Keeley

Assistant Professor


Theresa Keeley joined the department in 2015 as Assistant Professor of U.S. and the World. Building on her background as a human rights activist and attorney, her interdisciplinary approach to research and teaching embraces several themes: religious and political identity, transnational social movements, war and protest, gender, human rights, and the law. She previously held a joint appointment at Georgetown University in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and the History Department. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and Colgate University.

Dr. Keeley has published in both historical and legal journals. She is currently revising her manuscript Reagan’s Gun-Toting Nuns: Catholicism and U.S.-Central America Relations, which examines how debates among U.S. and Central American Catholics over the meaning of Catholic identity shaped Ronald Reagan’s policies toward Central America. The manuscript’s pivotal event is the rape and murder of the four American churchwomen in El Salvador in December 1980.

Her work has been supported by grants from the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, the Cushwa Center at the University of Notre Dame, the Rockefeller Archive Center, and NYU’s Center for the United States and the Cold War.