Distinguished Historian of American Religion to Lecture on March 18

 

KNOXVILLE – Jon Butler, a leading historian of American religion from Yale University, will deliver a lecture on Puritans in American history at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on Thursday, March 18, at 5 p.m. in the Baker Center’s Toyota Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Butler’s lecture, “Whatever Happened to the Puritans–and to Colonial American History?” will examine why historians have become seemingly less interested in studying the New England Puritans, and how this has influenced the importance of colonial American history within the historical profession.

From the 1950s to about 1990, Butler says, Puritan studies dominated early American history. But since 1990, he has noticed a great decline in interest in New England and its Puritanism as evidenced by the decreasing number of books and articles on the subject. This decline is paralleled by another: the decline in the influence of colonial American history within the American historical profession.

“Substantially fewer books were published in colonial American history in the past decade than, say, in the 1970s, and it strikes me that the field no longer sets the agenda for American history generally as it could be said to have done between 1955 and 1990,” said Butler.

In his lecture, Butler will address why this has happened and what should be done about it.

Butler is dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Howard R. Lamar Professor of American Studies, History and Religious Studies at Yale University. He has written numerous books in the American and religious studies fields.

His visit to Knoxville is sponsored by the UT Knoxville’s history department and the Milton M. Klein Studies Endowment, which was established in 1993 to support a visiting scholar series and seminars in the fields of early American history, American legal history and historiography.

For more information, contact the history department at 865-974-7090.

C O N T A C T :

Whitney Holmes (865-974-5460, wholmes7@utk.edu)

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