This fall, department chair Paul Harvey will be teaching Hist 3550, “Religion and American Culture, 1500-2000.”
One of the most interesting developments in this field recently has been the resurrection of studies of “mainline Protestantism” — the kinds of Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and others who dominated American religion for a good deal of history before (seemingly) succumbing to the rise of conservative evangelicals in the 2nd half of the twentieth century.
That’s the typical story; but it may bear some rethinking. And the rethinking that’s been going on now was summarized in this post on Harvey’s blog, “Religion in American History,” a post quoted today in this article in the New York Times on the resurgence of studies of liberal Protestantism among contemporary scholars (including a recent much-noted presidential address from the former president of the Organization of American Historians).
Thanks to the New York Times for featuring work from our History Department! And for students, the articles gives a nice overview of how, when, and why trends in the study of history change, why some topics seem to recede from attention and then get picked up by another generation of scholars. It’s a nice lesson in how historiography works.