Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Gearing Up for Winter 2014

Please forgive any typos in this post. I live in a notoriously drafty house and my hands are cold. It is 7 degrees here in Mechanicsburg, PA.

With the AHA meeting out of the way, it is now time to tend to some writing, history department administrative tasks, and class prep for the Spring 2014 semester.  Here is what is on tap for the rest of the Winter:

Starting in February I will be teaching a course on Pennsylvania history.  In addition to covering some of the important themes in the history of the commonwealth, I am also using this course to teach some public history methodology.  I will ask the students to engage in a small oral history project and prepare a digital history exhibit (using Omeka) of a Harrisburg-area religious congregation.  While I am excited about the prospects of this class, there is a lot of prep work involved.  For example, I need to develop relationships with local archives and congregations that contain church records. I also need to spend some time learning Omeka.  It should be interesting.

Throughout this month I have been putting the finishing touches on a 40,000 word report I am writing as part of my consulting work with the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth, New Jersey.  We are calling this the James Caldwell Project and you learn more about it here.

On February 18 I will be heading to New York City to present a paper to the members of the Columbia University Religion in America Seminar.  My title is still TBA, but I am probably going to do something on evangelicalism, Christian nationalism, and my personal experience with being "on the road" with Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?

One week later, I will be delivering the 2014 Messiah College Religion and Society Lecture. My talk is entitled: "The Complex Connections Between Christianity and the American Nation."  This responsibility also includes a faculty colloquium and a chapel talk.

On March 6, the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist and Wesleyan Studies at Messiah College has asked me to respond to David Swartz's 2014 Schrag Lecture on Anabaptism.  As many of you know, David is the author of an excellent book entitled Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism.

The Spring will be just as busy.  Stay tuned.