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Holt Lecture, "Protestantism, American Religion, and the Unanticipated Reformation"

On the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, the American religious historian, Jon Butler, will discuss Protestantism's powerful and often misunderstood role in American history.  From its sixteenth-century beginnings in Germany to the present, Protestantism has fostered frequently contradictory poles of individualism and collectivism, anti-authoritarianism and subservience, and reform and repression, all of which have played critical roles in the promotion of religious liberty and its denial throughout American history, especially when linked to divisions over American culture, values, and politics.  Given the historic importance of Protestantism in America, how we understand these contradictory forces plays a central role in understanding, and healing, America's twenty-first century cultural, political, and religious divisions.

About the 2017 Guest Lecturer

Jon Butler is Howard R. Lamar Professor Emeritus of American Studies, History, and Religious Studies at Yale University, where he taught for 27 years, and Adjunct Research Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He grew up in rural Minnesota, earned his B.A. and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, and served as President of the Organization of American Historians in 2015-2016.

His books include Power, Authority, and the Origins of American Denominational Order; The Huguenots in America: A Refugee People in New World Society; Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People; Becoming America: The Revolution Before 1776; and a book co-authored with Grant Wacker and Randall Balmer, Religion in American Life: A Short History.  He also is the author of many articles and essays and is writing a book about religion in Manhattan from the Gilded Age to the 1960 Kennedy election entitled God in Gotham.


Info on Annual Lecture:

The first annual Rush D. Holt Lecture was presented by the WVU history department on April 11, 2011. Inaugurating the lecture series was the Honorable Rush D. Holt, Jr., a U.S. Congressman from New Jersey and son of former U.S. Senator Rush D. Holt of West Virginia, after whom the series is named.  The lecture series is supported by the family of Senator Holt through the Senator Rush D. Holt Endowment established in 1998. The same endowment sponsored a biennial historical conference previously organized under the sponsorship of the WVU history department.