Last Spring the Notre Dame University History Department held a conference on the work of American religious historian Mark Noll. Ben Wetzel and Kathryn Rose Sawyer have a piece on the conference in the newsletter of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism. Here is a taste:
In the 1970s, the subfield of American religious history remained on the margins of the historical profession. Often confined to church historians teaching in seminaries, the study of religion had yet to significantly penetrate mainstream academic narratives about the American past. Several developments converged to change this in the decades that followed. The rise of the religious right in the late 1970s and early 1980s certainly stimulated interest among pundits and popular writers about the background of this religio-political movement. Simultaneously, however, another force was at work: a burgeoning scholarly interest in American religious history, especially in its evangelical manifestation. This revolution, write Heath W. Carter and Laura Rominger Porter, was “a deeply collaborative venture.” Yet, they contend, “arguably no single individual loomed so large in the process as Mark A. Noll,” the Francis A. McAnaney Professor Emeritus of History at Notre Dame.
This article considers Mark Noll’s place in the study of American history over the last forty years in light of a recent conference hosted in his honor at Notre Dame. On March 22 and 23, 2018, the History Department and College of Arts and Letters, along with the Cushwa Center, cosponsored Enduring Trends and New Directions: A Conference on the History of American Christianity, organized by co-chairs Jonathan Riddle and James Strasburg with the support of Darren Dochuk, associate professor of history at Notre Dame. The conference theme highlighted the state of the field in the history of American Christianity at the end of a generation of scholarship that witnessed remarkable growth, influenced in no small part by the work of Noll himself. The program included a mix of emerging and established scholars in the field of American Christianity broadly conceived, among them a number of Noll’s current and former Notre Dame graduate students. Speakers and participants traveled from around the U.S., Canada, and Europe to join the discussion.
Read the rest here.