Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Patrick Allitt: "Accidental Immigrant"

Check out this piece in Emory Magazine about Emory University history professor Patrick Allitt. The article discusses Allitt's recent decision to become an American citizen, his teaching style, his love of squash, and his career at Emory.  He is a beloved member of the faculty, prompting his department chair Jeffrey Lesser to note, "We have a number of strengths in this department, and one is that we all aspire to be like Patrick Allitt."

Here is a taste of the piece:

Allitt’s first four books were about religious history, and he has published an entertaining memoir about teaching an introductory American history class at Emory, I’m the Teacher, You’re the Student. His 2009 book, The Conservatives, was a study of ideas and personalities beginning with the Constitutional Convention and ending in the late 1990s. His latest, now under contract at Penguin Press, is a history of the great environmental debates of the past several decades. For years he has been recording a DVD lecture series for the Teaching Company.

When he’s working on a project, he often puts in twelve-hour days, going home for dinner and returning when the stream of students needing guidance has stopped and he can focus on his research. Now that his wife, whom he met at Berkeley, has retired from her teaching position, they have a “more traditional” division of household duties. “She cooks, and I read to her while she does it,” he explains. He is reading A Man of Parts, a novel based on the life of H. G. Wells.

I can attest to much of the praise Allitt receives in this article.  I got to spend some time with him a couple of years ago when he came to Messiah College to deliver our annual American Democracy Lecture.  I highly recommend his I'm the Teacher, You're the Student (you can read some of my thoughts about this book here) and Catholic Converts: British and American Intellectuals Turn to Rome.