Rachel M.																 Wheeler

Rachel M. Wheeler

Chair of Religious Studies
Professor of Religious Studies
Adjunct Professor of History
Department: Religious Studies, Center for the Study of Religion & American Culture, Max Kade German-American Center
(317) 274-7394
Cavanaugh Hall (CA) 335B



My research interests lie primarily in early American religious history. My first book, To Live upon Hope: Mohicans and Missionaries in the Eighteenth-Century Northeast, explored the experience of Mohican Indians with German-Moravian and Anglo-Protestant missionaries and examined the distinctive forms of native Christianity that emerged out of the two mission settings. I spent the year 2011-2012 in Germany on a Fulbright fellowship working on a new book project, a biography of a Mohican-Moravian man named Joshua who lived through the many wars and revivals of the eighteenth century in a very precarious position as an Indian and a Christian. Together with Florida State University musicologist, Sarah Eyerly, I received an American Council of Learned Societies Collaborative Research Fellowship for 2017-2018 to research and revive eighteenth century Mohican language hymns. I also translated my love of food into a blog piece on food and religion, titled “Locavangelism: Eating as Spiritual Practice” for the blog, “Religion in American History.” I am also currently working on an article about Daniel Boone and Joshua, the Mohican.



  • PhD, Yale University 1998
  • MA, Yale University 1993
  • BA, Carleton College 1991



Religion and Culture (R101) American Religion (R173) Prophets, Captives and Converts (R312) Native American Religions (R367)




To Live upon Hope: Mohicans and Missionaries in the Eighteenth-Century Northeast, Cornell University Press, 2008.

Strong Wounds: Eight Mohican Moravian Hymns, with Brent Michael Davids, Sarah Eyerly, Chris Harvey, and Joshua Tanis, Moravian Music Foundation (Winston-Salem, NC and Bethlehem, PA, in press 2022)

Articles and Book Chapters:

“What is Mohican Music?” with Sarah Eyerly, Journal of the American Musicological Society, vol 74:3 Fall 2021.

“Daniel Boone and Joshua, the Mohican: American Lives and American Myths,” Journal of Moravian History 21:2 (2021), 113-142.

“Music in Unexpected Places: Hearing New Histories of Early American Music,” in Charles Garrett and Carol Oja, eds, Sounding Together: U.S. Music in the 21st Century, (University of Michigan Press, 2021), 21-50.

“A View from the Philadelphia Barracks: Religion in the Mid-Atlantic,” in Benjamin Park, ed. A Companion to American Religious History (Wiley and Sons, 2021), 25-43.

“The Singing Box,” co-authored with Sarah Eyerly, William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., 77:3 (July 2020), 245-256.

“Singing Box 331: Re-Sounding Eighteenth-Century Mohican Hymns from the Moravian Archives,” co-authored with Sarah Eyerly, The William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser. 76:4 (October 2019), 649-696.

“Songs of the Spirit: Hymnody in the Moravian Mohican Missions” co-authored with Sarah Eyerly, Journal of Moravian History. vol 17 (Spring 2017), 1-26.

“On an Eighteenth-Century Trail of Tears: The Travel Diary of Johann Jacob Schmick of the Moravian Indian Congregation’s Journey to the Susquehanna, 1765,” with Thomas Hahn-Bruckart, Journal of Moravian History, vol. 15, (Spring 2015), 44-89.

“An Imagined Mohican-Moravian Lebenslauf; Joshua, Senior, 1720-1775,” Journal of Moravian History, vol 11 (Fall 2011) 29-44.

“Edwards as Missionary,” in Cambridge Companion to Jonathan Edwards, ed. Stephen Stein, Cambridge University Press, 2007, 196-214.

“Lessons from Stockbridge: Jonathan Edwards and the Stockbridge Indians,” in Jonathan Edwards at 300: Essays on the Tercentennial of his Birth, ed. Harry S. Stout, Kenneth P. Minkema, and Caleb J. D. Maskell, (University Press of America, 2005), 131-140.

“Hendrick Aupaumut: Christian-Mahican Prophet,” The Journal of the Early Republic 25:2 (Summer 2005), 187-220.

“’Friends to Your Souls’: Jonathan Edwards’ Indian Pastorate and the Doctrine of Original Sin,” Church History 72 (December 2003), 736-765.

“Women and Christian Practice in a Mahican Village,” Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation, 13 (2003), 27-67.

In the Media:

“The CV Needs a Makeover,” Academe, June 15, 2022,

“COVID CV, Part 2: The App,” Inside Higher Ed, October 15, 2020

“COVID CV: Planning for the Post Pandemic,” Inside Higher Ed, May 3, 2020

“My RealCV,” Women in Higher Education 29, no. 4 (April 2020): 7–15.

“Un/becoming America,” Perspectives on History, American Historical Association, April 2019.

“The left needs its own story of American greatness,” Washington Post, October 17, 2018

“Charlottesville, Exodus, and the Politics of Nostalgia,” Religion and Politics, August 22, 2017

“Eating as Spiritual Practice: Locavangelism in America Today,” Religion in American History Blog,



Awards and Prizes

IUPUI School of Liberal Arts Outstanding Tenure Line Faculty, 2021

“Singing Box 331” awarded the Lester J. Cappon Prize for best article published in The William and Mary Quarterly in 2019, the Robert Heizer prize for best article in the field of Ethnohistory, and the Srinivas Aravamudan prize by the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies.

To Live upon Hope selected as finalist for best first book in religion awarded by the American Academy of Religion

National and International Grants:

American Council of Learned Societies (2017-18)

Fulbright Senior Researcher/Lecturer in Germany (2011-12)

National Endowment for the Humanities (2000-01)

Academic Interests

Academic Interests

American religious history, colonial American history, Native American and Indigenous Studies