Profile: Catherine Evans

Catherine Evan’s reformation expertise can be summed up as “Protestant work ethic anxiety.” The 500 Reformations team asked Cat some questions about how this knowledge connects with her research.

Tell us about your Reformation research:

I work on early modern English literature, looking at how poets and theologians constructed their ideas of time following the reformation. The early modern period saw the arrival of personal timekeeping devices, as well as increased use of objects such as diaries and almanacs to help people keep track of their own time. These technological advances occurred in an environment where the calendar itself was increasingly politicised and the the site of religious debate, as Catholic Saints days were outlawed following the Reformation. My specialisms include Mary and Philip Sidney, John Donne, and George Herbert.

What question, or questions, are you aiming to answer in your 500 Reformations talk?

I’ll be talking about how the depressing doctrine of predestination still impacts society today! Asking, “What did the Reformation ever do for your peace of mind?”

Is this your main research area?

This is one strand of my research. I make a link between our current obsession with being “hard working” and the Protestant directive of ceaseless activity to demonstrate the fact that one is elect/saved.

Find out more:

View and follow Cat’s research activities at

Want to hear Cat speak?

Those in Sheffield and the surrounding area are encouraged to invite Cat as part of the 500 Reformations scheme. Information about hosting.