Announcing the 2020-21 Religion and Public Life Fellows

Contact: Monnikue McCall
Warren Center for Studies in American History
Harvard University
Announcing the 2020-21 Religion and Public Life Fellows
at Harvard’s Warren Center
Cambridge, Mass. (July 15, 2020) – The Warren Center, Harvard’s research center for North American history, is pleased to announce the 2020-21 Charles Warren Fellows, convened to investigate religion’s potent force in American public life. The Fellows will explore how religious beliefs and practices have shaped some of the most important political, legal, and economic debates in American history.
Professor Catherine Brekus, co-convenor of the program along with faculty colleagues David Holland and James Kloppenberg, states that “many scholars once assumed that secularization would lead to the privatization of religion, or, in the words of Max Weber, the ‘disenchantment of the world.’ What we have seen in recent decades, however, is that religion has continued to shape the way that Americans understand pressing issues of public concern. The Fellows’ workshop will illuminate how Americans’ religious convictions have shaped their attitudes toward race, immigration, gender, economics, foreign affairs, and the meaning of the common good. Throughout the nation’s history, religion has had a vast impact on the way that Americans have understood public life.”
Incoming Warren Center Director Professor Tiya Miles adds that “the confluence of religion and public life has been critical since the nation’s founding and continues to fuel headlines today – from a Presidential photo-op in front of a house of worship, to the role of religious communities in the face of a pandemic, to patterns of support for particular political issues and parties among people of faith. The Warren Center is delighted to host this important and timely convening that will enrich current conversations and foster new scholarship on the history of religion in America.”
The 2020-21 Charles Warren Fellows are:
  • Kristen Beales: Spirited Exchanges: The Religion of the Marketplace in Early America
  • Melissa Borja (University of Michigan): Hmong Refugee Resettlement and the Practice of American Religious Pluralism, 1976-2000.
  • Emily Conroy-Krutz (Michigan State University): Religion and American Foreign Relations in the 19th Century
  • Heather Curtis (Tufts University): Ida B. Wells, Black Spiritual Protest, and American Public Life
  • Curtis Evans (University of Chicago): The Federal Council of Churches and the Problem of Race
  • Williams Schultz (University of Chicago): Faith, Fraud, and Religious Freedom in Modern America
  • Daniel Vaca (Brown University): A Religious History of Taxes in America
The Fellows’ presentations of their works-in-progress are public events of the Warren Center, to be announced in the Harvard Gazette including zoom links.  Meetings will be roughly alternating Wednesdays in both the fall and spring terms, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Since 1965, generations of Charles Warren Fellows have added immeasurably to Harvard’s intellectual life, and the Warren Center has increased our understanding of Americans and their history by the nurturance of many ground-breaking works.