Women & Gender at the Conference on Faith and History

Andrea L. Turpin

I'm getting excited for the biennial Conference on Faith and History held this year at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI October 4-6. My anticipation is not only linked to the hope that this Texan will get to experience some Fall. It is also linked to the large number of promising papers on the program.

This year marks the conference's 50th anniversary and I look forward to hearing reflections on where the field has been and where it is going. Even more so, I look forward to seeing first hand where it is going. One of the things that is so promising about the papers is how much the conference has diversified since I first began attending exactly ten years ago. Every single time slot of panel presentations contains at least one paper on women's or gender history and a couple contain entire competing panels. Notably, the presidential plenary by my Baylor colleague Beth Allison Barr will incorporate women's history.

Equally encouraging is the range of these papers. Recurring topics include the intellectual history of thought both by and about women, the religious lives of women of color, and the religious lives of women from multiple traditions including Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Mormon, and Protestant. (I should add that one notable omission is that there are no papers whose main topic is religion and sexuality.)

I have bolded the papers and panels on women's and gender history below. Enjoy!

Note: The careful reader will notice that I have not listed my own panels. I will be presenting on a roundtable Friday at 4:15pm on "Christian Scholarship for Such a Time as This: A Reassessment." Women's and gender history will play a significant role in the discussion but is not the main focus. I am also indulging another of my interests by serving as commentator for a fascinating panel Saturday at 2:30pm on "Religious Education as Cultural Transmission in Twentieth-Century America."

Friday, October 5, 8:00-9:30 a.m.

Session 3: Gendered Faith in Early America: Women as Civil Authorities, Moravian Missionaries, and Disabled Christians
Meeter Center Lecture Hall

Chair: Lisa Clark Diller, Southern Adventist University
  • “Flourishing Families or Spit-in-the-Face? Women, the Book of Exodus and Civil Authority in Colonial America,” Kristina Benham, Baylor University
  • “Hearing the Gospel in a Silent World: Disability, Gender and Religion in the Massachusetts Bay Colony,” Katherine Ranum, University of Cincinnati
  • “New Madrid Earthquakes of the Cherokee Nation: Women Shaken and Bonded,” Lucinda Yang, Baylor University
Comment:   Lisa Clark Diller, Southern Adventist University

Session 7: Christian Women and the History Profession
Prince Conference Center, Hickory Room

Chair: Loretta Hunnicutt, Pepperdine University
  • Nadya Williams, University of West Georgia
  • Meghan DiLuzio, Baylor University
  • Elizabeth Marvel, Baylor University

Friday, October 5, 10:00-11:30 a.m.

Session 9: Historical Thinking and Evangelical Institutions
Prince Conference Center, Willow West

Chair:  David Swartz, Asbury University
  • “The Role of the Christian Institution in the History of Evangelical Divorce and Remarriage,” Margaret Flamingo, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • “What Has Grand Rapids To Do With Nashville? Christian Historians Examining, Enduring, and Engaging with Popular Christian Cultures,” K. Scott Culpepper, Dordt College
  • “Does Evangelical Pietism Undermine the Life of the Mind? The Case of Bethel College, Indiana, 1947-2017,” Dennis Engbrecht, Bethel College & Timothy Erdel, Bethel College
Comment:   David Swartz, Asbury University

Friday, October 5, 2:15-3:45 p.m.

Session 17: Sacred Texts in American History
Commons Annex, Room 214 (upper level)

Chair:  John Turner, George Mason University
  • “Reconfiguring the Archive: Women and the Social Production of the Book of Mormon,” Amy Easton-Flake, Brigham Young University & Rachel Cope, Brigham Young University
  • “The Practical and Poetic Pietist: John Quincy Adams and the Bible,” Matt McCook, Oklahoma Christian University
  • “’The Bible is Assumed’: The Great Books Movement and the Place of Protestants in the ‘Great Conversation,’” Fred Beuttler, University of Chicago
  • “The Enlightenment and Modernity in Carl F.H. Henry’s Account of Western Civilization,” Mike Kulger, Northwestern College
Comment:   John Turner, George Mason University

Session 18: Political Hope in the Age of Fracture
Prince Conference Center, Willow East

Chair: Michael Hammond, Taylor University
  • “‘That Unageing Spiritual Reality’: Kathleen Raine, Temenos and the Hope of Civilization,” Eric Miller, Geneva College
  • “This Town Ain’t So Bad: Spending Heavenly Eternity in Springfield with the Simpsons,” Paul Arras, SUNY Cortland
  • “Friendship and Culture War: Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety and its Historical Moment,” Matthew Stewart, Syracuse University
Comment:  Jeff Bilbro, Spring Arbor University

Session 22: Teaching Islamic History and Culture in the Christian University
Commons Annex, Alumni Board Room (upper level)

Chair: Douglas Howard, Calvin College
  • “What has Baghdad to do with Jerusalem and Athens? Situating Classical Islam within the Western Tradition,” Anthony Minnema, Samford University
  • “We Speak for Ourselves: The Use of Oral History in the Classroom to Cement the Experience of Muslim Americans in the Broader Narrative of U.S. History," Amy Poppinga, Bethel University
  • “Fostering Humility and Hospitality through the Study of Jewish and Islamic Fundamentalisms,” Sarah Miglio, Wheaton College
  • “How do you Teach Honor Killings? Sufi Transgressive Piety, Lottie Moon, and the Benefits of Comparative History,” Annalise DeVries, Samford University
Comment:  Douglas Howard, Calvin College

Session 23: Legacies of the Protestant Reformation
Meeter Center Lecture Hall

Chair: Ron Rittgers, Valparaiso University
  • “Division in Unity: Historiography and the Legacies of the Radical Reformation, ”Joe Super, Liberty University Online
  • “Margaret Baxter: ‘Nursing Mother’ of Protestant Dissenters,” Seth Osborne, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • “Theological Responses to the Synod of Dort in France” (in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the synod), Martin Klauber, Trinity International University
Comment:   Ron Rittgers, Valparaiso University

Friday, October 5, 4:15-5:45 p.m.

Session 25: The Mississippi Delta and the Long Civil Rights Movement
Prince Conference Center, Willow West

Chair: John Giggie, University of Alabama
  • “Seek the Welfare of the City Where I have Sent You,” Alicia Jackson, Covenant College
  • ““She was Counsellor and Advisor”: Black Women Fraternal Leaders in the Mississippi Delta, 1940s–1970s,” Katrina Sims, Hofstra University
  • “Fannie Lou Hamer as Organic Theologian, ”Jemar Tisby, University of Mississippi
Comment:  Paul Harvey, University of Colorado

Session 26: Vocation ‘Between the Times’: Catholic Women from Revolution to Council
Commons Annex, Room 214 (upper level)

Chair: Emily McGowin, Wheaton College
  • “Vocation ‘Between the Times’: A Rule for the Active Apostolate,” Laura Eloe, University of Dayton
  • “Vocation ‘Between the Times’: Mary as a Model for Catholic Mothers in the 1950s,” Annie Huey, University of Dayton
  • “Vocation ‘Between the Times’: A Mother and a Mystic,” Joshua Wopata, University of Dayton
Comment:   Emily McGowin, Wheaton College

Session 30: Historians as Social and Moral Critics
Meeter Center Lecture Hall

Chair:  William Katerberg, Calvin College
  • “History that Heals: Reflections on Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission from a Settler Historian,” William Van Arragon, King’s University
  • "The Historian as Moral Critic: John Higham, Christopher Lasch, Andrew Bacevich," John Haas, Bethel College
  • “The Artist as Historian: Carrie Mae Weems and the Photographic Archive,” Elissa Weichbrodt, Covenant College
Comment:  William Katerberg, Calvin College

Session 32: Shifting Evangelical Identities in Secularizing America
Commons Annex, Lecture Hall C/D (lower level)

Chair: Brenda Thompson Schoolfield, Bob Jones University
  • “Earthrise: The Religious Politics of a Stamp and the Role of Conspiracy in the Era of Late 1960s Fake News and Its Implications for the Social Media Age,” Bobby Griffith, The University of Oklahoma
  • ““Last at the Cross, and First at the Resurrection”: Sam Jones’s Theology of Gender,” Anderson Rouse, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • “Billy Graham’s Northwestern Years (1948-1952) and Emerging Evangelical and Fundamentalist Identities,” Greg Rosauer, University of Northwestern–St.Paul
Comment:  Brenda Thompson Schoolfield, Bob Jones University

Friday, October 5, 7:00 p.m.

Presidential Plenary—Beth Allison Barr, Baylor University
Prince Conference Center, Great Hall

Saturday, October 6, 8:00-9:30 a.m.

Session 33: Defending Black Citizenship: African-American and White Christians on Abolition, Prohibition, and Lynching in the U.S. South and Borderlands
DeVos Communication Center, Bytwerk Theater (lower level)

Chair: Paul Harvey, University of Colorado
  • “Black Pastors Defending Black Bodies: Lynching and the Church,” Malcolm Foley, Baylor University   
  • “Religious Abolitionism and the Quest for African-American Citizenship in Cincinnati,” Scott Anderson, University of Mary-Hardin Baylor
  • “Defending Black Manhood: African Americans’ Religious (Anti-)Prohibition Activism,” Brendan Payne, North Greenville University
Comment:   Pearl Young, University of North Carolina

Session 40: Ideals of Womanhood in American Christianity
Meeter Center Lecture Hall

Chair: Margaret Bendroth, Congregational Library & Archives
  • ““Let any anxious and pious mother remember the perils, and the rescue of the son of Monica”: St. Monica as Female Exemplar in Nineteenth-Century Protestantism,” Paul Gutacker, Baylor University
  • ““I’m for the ERA”: Faith, Feminism, and the Active Politics of a Southern Baptist First Lady,” Elizabeth Flowers, Texas Christian University
  • “The ‘Noblest Career of All’: Housekeeping, Homemaking, and the Ideal of Evangelical Postwar Domesticity,” Adina Johnson Kelley, Baylor University
Comment:  Margaret Bendroth

Saturday, October 6, 10:00-11:30 a.m.

Session 42: Women, Race, and Authority in American Religious Movements
Meeter Center Lecture Hall

Chair: Jeanne Petit, Hope College
  • “Unexpected Scope for Work: Black Women Doctors and the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” Lisa Clark Diller, Southern Adventist University
  • “Women’s Protests at the American Presbyterian Congo Mission, 1916-1933,” Kimberly Hill, University of Texas at Dallas
  •  “Shaping Women of ‘Unsubdued Spirit’: Rebecca Gratz and Female Religious Leadership in Antebellum American Judaism,” Elise Leal, Whitworth University
Comment:  Jeanne Petit, Hope College

Session 47: Versions of Holiness: Saints and Nuns from Medieval England to Africa and the American West
Commons Annex, Room 214 (upper level)

Chair: Jennifer Hevelone-Harper, Gordon University
  • ““Present your bodies a sacrifice to the Lord”: The Physical and Spiritual Care of Nuns in Late Medieval England,” Elizabeth Marvel, Baylor University
  • “Constructing Houses in the American West: Candlelight, Bricks, and Communion,” Danae Jacobson, University of Notre Dame
  • “Women on the Move from a Global Perspective: A Gendered Analysis of Saints’ Lives in Medieval Ethiopia and Europe,” Anna Redhair, Baylor University
Comment:  Jennifer Hevelone-Harper, Gordon University

Session 48: Evangelical Uses of the Past
Prince Conference Center, Willow East

Chair: Jay Green, Covenant College
  • ““Everyone is a child of destiny”: Henrietta Mears and the Meaning of History,” Amber Thomas, University of Edinburgh
  • “Our City: History Creation and late Nineteenth-Century Urban Evangelicalism,” Andrew MacDonald, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
  • “Conservative Resurgence or Conservative Takeover? Usable History at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary,” Lisa Weaver Swartz, Asbury Theological Seminary
Comment:  Jay Green, Covenant College

Saturday, October 6, 2:30-4:00 p.m.

Session 52: Beyond the Voting Booth: Evangelicals and Race, Gender, and Memory
Meeter Center Lecture Hall

Chair:  Bill Svelmoe, St. Mary’s College
  • “Exhibiting Evangelicalism: Protestant Public Memory at the Billy Graham Center Museum,” Devin Manzullo-Thomas, Messiah College
  • “White Evangelicals as ‘a people’: The Church Growth Movement from India to the United States,” Jesse Curtis, Temple University
  • “Grooming Evangelical Womanhood: The Pioneer Girls and Gendered Identity,” Rebecca Koerselman, Northwestern University
Comment:  Bill Svelmoe, St. Mary’s College

Session 56: ‘For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning”: Christian Uses of the Past to Shape the Present and Future
Prince Conference Center, Willow East

Chair: Seth Perry, Princeton University
  • “Lost Cause Hagiography: Rewriting Saints Felicity and Perpetua as Southern Catholic Martyrs,” David Roach, Baylor University
  • “‘Crying out against Conditions’: Protestants and Labor, 1908-1940,” Tori Jessen, University of Alabama
  • “‘Beloved prostitutes and rough fishermen’: Appeals to the Early Church in the Emerging Church Movement,” John Young, University of Alabama
Comment:  Seth Perry, Princeton University


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