When There’s Too Much Historical Evidence

Over the weekend I continued my Anxious Bench series on the challenges of writing biographies by reflecting on the problem of historical evidence. While the biographer whose book I’m currently reading seems to have enough evidence to narrate his subject’s entire life on a weekly (sometimes daily or even hourly) basis, I know that he actually is deploying … More When There’s Too Much Historical Evidence

Mapping Your Academic Career: From Security to Success

As I wrote last Monday, my main goal for the second half of my fall sabbatical is to engage in some professional stock-taking. Having received tenure, been promoted to full professor, and just sent off the manuscript for my third project on Pietism, I’d like to step back and consider where I am in my academic career. My guide for this … More Mapping Your Academic Career: From Security to Success

Further Thoughts on the “Protestant Notre Dame”

Just what would make Liberty University — or Baylor University or any other claimant to the title — “the Protestant Notre Dame“? Among other fine responses to my post on this topic yesterday, Aaron Morrison suggested that Liberty president Jerry Falwell, Jr. “needed to clarify what he meant by ‘Notre Dame’” before deeming his school … More Further Thoughts on the “Protestant Notre Dame”

Paper Clips as Relics, or Historical Research as an Encounter with the Sacred

One of my favorite aspects of producing our department’s weekly webisodes is that it has afforded our faculty the chance to film conversations about our discipline. All have been interesting, but the one we posted yesterday stood out: my conversation with Americanists Diana Magnuson and AnneMarie Kooistra about historical evidence and research. As usual for these conversations, … More Paper Clips as Relics, or Historical Research as an Encounter with the Sacred

Past and Presence: Primary Sources

2/25/15 – I think that the fourth episode of Past & Presence, our department’s new webisode series, is our best yet. Not only do we interview an alum who parlayed his History degree into a corporate VP position, visit the oldest Swedish Baptist church in Minnesota, preview our Modern Middle East course, and hear from a student who spent the fall … More Past and Presence: Primary Sources

Past and Presence: Secondary and Tertiary Sources

It’s library week on Past & Presence, our department’s new webisode series: Not only do I host episode 3 from locations in the Bethel University Library, but we talk to two of our librarians. One of them is a former student in our department, as is our interview subject of the week: Kevin McGrew, director of … More Past and Presence: Secondary and Tertiary Sources

Why I’m Glad I Majored in History

Given my occupation, this title may suggest a one-line post: I studied history in college; I teach history at a college. But I rarely draw very much on the historical knowledge I acquired from the fine professors of the William & Mary history department. I did take a lot of modern European history courses there, but I suspect that the content of my … More Why I’m Glad I Majored in History

My Summer Plans? A Digital History of a Christian College in Wartime

To this point in my career as a history professor, at least a couple of goals have eluded me: first, to engage in collaborative research and writing with a gifted undergraduate; second, to get some firsthand experience learning how digital tools (beyond WordPress, that is) can enrich the practice of history. I’m happy to announce that, thanks … More My Summer Plans? A Digital History of a Christian College in Wartime

RIP V. Elving Anderson, 1921-2014 (G.W. Carlson)

V. Elving Anderson died on March 9, 2014 after serving a distinguished career as educator and researcher. (See his obituary here.) He was born in 1921 in Stromsburg, Nebraska, into a family deeply rooted in the Swedish Baptist heritage. He attended Bethel Junior College (A.A. degree), studied at the Seminary, and then completed his B.A. … More RIP V. Elving Anderson, 1921-2014 (G.W. Carlson)