Monthly Archives: December 2014

Links: End of 2014 Edition

In preparation for the New Year (which I understand is coming up soon), I thought it would be an excellent time to clear off my browser and post some links, so we can begin again in January.

First, Margaret Abruzzo would like you to know about “Indispensable Writing Tips from Famous Authors.”

Next, I see that a number of the articles still up concern education. I’ll let you tease out all the connections, but to my mind the thread between them is the on-going significance of real education, which can’t be quantified or commodified or digitized–despite all attempts in the present to do so.

•Steven Rojstaczer on the unhelpfulness of student evaluations.

•Christopher Nelson on why education as more important than the current assessment regime.

•A second Christopher Nelson piece on valuing higher education.

•Pietist Schoolman Chris Gehrz on the best metaphors for a Christian liberal arts education.

•Academic leaders who think faculty get in the way.

On-line courses and the loss of privacy. Are you turning over data to companies unwillingly?

Michael Lindsay and James K.A. Smith in one place? Wow!

Brian Stanley lists 10 Historical Myths about World Christianity.

It’s a throw-back, but since I’ve talked to 3 people about Henrietta Mears this month, John Turner’s post is a great reference.

Publishing for the love of excellent books.

What might it mean to “be an intellectual”?

Miles Mullin on Leadership American-Style.

Big Data and Early American Print.

Finally, the obligatory link to Patriotism and Piety.

OK…Happy New Year!

Image from Spindle Mag


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It’s Here! It’s Here!

IMG_4551Wow! Talk about a great gift a few days before Christmas!

A box arrived in the mail from Virginia…Surprised, I opened it to find copies of my book!

Yes, indeed–Patriotism and Piety: Federalist Politics and Religious Struggle in the New American Nation is a real thing. The idea has taken on form and become an actual book.

I’m delighted and pleased. This “baby” has been gestating for something like 11 years now. It’s great to see it “in the flesh.”

Incidentally, the book looks great–if I do say so myself. The University of Virginia Press did a great job of producing the book. The illustrations also look fantastic.

Here’s the requisite Amazon link, if you’re interested.

Finally, I’ll leave you with another actual pictures as proof of the book’s arrival:


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3 Notices of “Patriotism and Piety”

With the release of Patriotism and Piety: Federalist Politics and Religious Struggle in the New American Nation coming up next month, it’s great to be seeing the book noticed and advertised.

DenHartog Patriotism and Piety Cover

I wanted to point to three places where the book has popped up recently.

First, word should be going out to the professional historians. The University of Virginia Press included a cover shot of the book in their advertisement in the Winter 2014 issue of the Journal of the Early Republic. Published by the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, it would be great if scholars directly in the field read the book and took notice.

Second, I was pleased to see the book being mentioned to scholars of American evangelicals. Recently I received issue 87 of the Evangelical Studies Bulletin. This bulletin, published by the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals has always been extremely valuable in tracking works in the field. I was delighted to see Patriotism and Piety listed as forthcoming in their books section. Now, this joy was bittersweet. There will be no more issues of the ESB, in its current form. Nonetheless, I’m grateful to have made a small mark on this publication before it disappeared.

Finally, the book got noticed on the web. On the Religion in American History blog, Paul Putz regularly tracks forthcoming books in American Religious History. I was glad to be present for his list of books for January-April 2015.

If this has gotten your attention, Patriotism and Piety is available for pre-order! Also, feel free to mention it to others!

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Significance in American History

Recently, the Smithsonian Magazine produced a list of what they claimed were the “100 Most Significant Americans.” Their analysts reached this conclusion through processing wikipedia and GoogleBooks. I’m not convinced this was the best measure or that all the names produced were really the most significant.

Now, I think this raises the big issue of what we count as significant and how we judge that. What is significance? Can it be quantified? Who do you think were significant Americans–and why? (Hint: that’s why there’s a comment section!)

Blogging historian Chris Gehrz assembled a panel of historians to comment on the listings, and I was pleased to participate. It didn’t hurt that I could do that instead of grading one more paper late at night.

Over the last two days, Chris has posted the responses. Take a look at them and see what you think!

Who Are the Most Significant Americans in History? (Part 1)

Who Are the Most Significant Americans in History? (Part 2)

Also, if you read to the end, you might just see a reference to a figure from the forthcoming book Patriotism and Piety.

Who is this (unmasked) Methodist? (Hint: he’s referenced in Part 2!)


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Digital Interview with Nancy Koester

Nancy Koester is the author of a recent biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe. If you are interested in an accessible biography of Stowe that takes her religious beliefs seriously, this biography is for you.

I had the great pleasure of hosting Nancy in my “American Religious History” class this fall. She did a great job.

To continue the conversation and to expose her ideas to other audiences, we set up a digital interview. That interview went live over the week-end at the Religion in American History blog.

Head over there to read the full interview.

I think it’s a good interview for the way it says something interesting about Harriet but also places her in her family context–her father Lyman, her sister Catharine, and her younger brother Henry Ward show up. I contend you can say a whole lot about the trajectories of 19th century American Religion by simply examining the Beecher family.

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Principled Pluralism and the 1950s

Yesterday, I had my review of George Marsden’s book The Twilight of the American Enlightenment published on the Web/Email Forum Public DiscoursePublic Discourse is concerned about many things, but one of them is religion in public life. This review gave me a chance to reflect on this topic.

Also, publishing with Public Discourse was fun, for two reasons. First, George was my graduate school advisor, so I was happy to promote his book, as well as ask some probing questions of it–and about American life. Second, during my time in Princeton I had a chance to get to know the folks at Public Discourse. It seemed a natural fit to send this piece their way.

Read the whole piece, but the nutshell is that this is an interesting book both as a history of the “middlebrow” ideas and religious sensibilities of the 1950s and as a reflection on how American culture today should deal with religious differences. Marsden is inspired by Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper and the vision of “principled pluralism.” Generally, I think this could be promising, but it would also require lots of people to buy in–something I don’t see happening at this time.

Anyway, read the whole thing here.

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