On the heels of Randall's interview with Larry Eskridge, I thought I'd use today's post to promote the ISAE conference Larry mentioned near the end of the interview: "The Worlds of Billy Graham." From September 26-28, about a dozen scholars will be giving talks on Graham in Wheaton. You can see the entire schedule here.
But as I began reading the abstracts for conference papers in preparation for a pre-conference colloquium, I realized how valuable this conference could be. Graham's public career spans seven decades, and he has figured into an amazing number of events and trends in American religious history. Allowing several voices to comment on Graham highlights both the through-lines in his career and the understudied and unexpected stories of his life. For instance, David King is working on a fascinating paper about Graham's connection to evangelical humanitarianism, while Dochuk sheds light on the relationships Graham built with conservative black businessmen. Anne Blue Wills's research on Ruth Bell Graham recovers an overlooked figure and offers a powerful statement about the negotiation of gender roles within evangelicalism. By allowing individual scholars to focus on these and other stories, the conference will open up new perspectives on Graham.
If you'll be in the Chicago area at the end of September, I encourage you to considering attending (registration information here). I'll try to post some follow-up thoughts in October, as well. Ultimately, we're hoping to publish conference papers in an anthology. As long as self-promotion is still a major theme of this blog, you can bet you'll read about that here, too!