Religion and Politics in Early America Conference, March 1-4, 2018

line drawing of three people talking, one with a micrphone, superimposed on a wall of newspaper clippings

The Religion and Politics in Early America conference will convene next week in St. Louis, Missouri. The special topics conference of The Society of Early Americanists will take place Thursday, March 1 – Sunday, March 4, 2018. Abram Van Engen, Associate Professor in the Department of English at Washington University in St. Louis is the organizer.  Sponsors include the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis and the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri.

“This conference explores the intersections between religion and politics in early America from pre-contact through the early republic. All panels relate to the way religion shapes politics or politics shapes religion—how the two come into conflict, collaborate, or otherwise configure each other. We define the terms “religion” and “politics” broadly, including (for example) studies of secularity and doubt. This conference has a broad temporal, geographic, and topical expanse. Scholars will be coming from multiple disciplines, including American Studies, English, History, Law, Political Science, Religious Studies, and more. Finally, special panel series will hold related panels open for all participants to attend. These series will examine the material cultures of religion and politics, Native American religion and politics, mission work, disestablishment and religious toleration, William Penn and his legacy, and the issue of globalization and cosmopolitanism in early America,” according to the conference website.

In addition to conference sponsorship, the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics is pleased to report several current and past colleagues are conference participants:

  • Four Center faculty members will contribute to the special panel, “How the Intersection of Religion and Politics Shapes Our Work as Historians.” Professors Marie Griffith, Laurie Maffly-Kipp, Leigh Schmidt, and Mark Valeri will participate in this conversation on Friday, March 2.
  • Mark Valeri, Reverend Priscilla Wood Neaves Distinguished Professor of Religion and Politics, is on the Program Committee and he will chair the panel “Process and Politics of Conversion in Early America” on Thursday, March 1.
  • Abram Van Engen, Faculty Affiliate, is the organizer of the conference.
  • Christine Croxall, Postdoctoral Fellow, will chair two panels:  “A Catholic Atlantic Interior? Governance, Order, and the Church in Early America,” on Thursday, March 1, and “New Sites for Indigenous Sovereignties,” on Friday, March 2.
  • Gene Zubovich, Postdoctoral Fellow, will chair the panel, “Law, Liberty, and Religion in Early America,” on Saturday, March 3.
  • Scott Libson, Former Dissertation Completion Fellow at the Center and currently at Indiana University, will participate on the panel, “Missions and the National Vision,” on Friday, March 2.
  • Hannah Wakefield, Graduate Affiliate with the Center, will participate on the panel, “Power and Purposes of Narrative,” on Saturday, March 3.

For more information about the Religion and Politics in Early America Conference, including the full program, please see the conference website at .