image of Marsden George American Evangelicism Book Chapter

Darren Dochuk, Thomas S. Kidd, Kurt W. Peterson

Kristin Kobes Du Mez

About the Book: No living scholar has shaped the study of American religious history more profoundly than George M. Marsden. His work spans U.S. intellectual, cultural, and religious history from the seventeenth through the twenty-first centuries. This collection of essays uses the career of George M. Marsden and the remarkable breadth of his scholarship to measure current trends in the historical study of American evangelical Protestantism and to encourage fresh scholarly investigation of this faith tradition as it has developed between the eighteenth century and the present. Moving through five sections, each centered around one of Marsden’s major books and the time period it represents, the volume explores different methodologies and approaches to the history of evangelicalism and American religion. Besides assessing Marsden’s illustrious works on their own terms, this collection’s contributors isolate several key themes as deserving of fresh, rigorous, and extensive examination. Through their close investigation of these particular themes, they expand the range of characters and communities, issues and ideas, and contingencies that can and should be accounted for in our historical texts. Marsden’s timeless scholarship thus serves as a launchpad for new directions in our rendering of the American religious past.


Published by University of Notre Dame Press in 2014

Du Mez, Kristin Kobes. “Reorienting American Religious History: The Case of Katharine Bushnell.” In American Evangelicalism: George Marsden and the Shape of American Religious History, edited by Darren Dochuk, Thomas S. Kidd, and Kurt W. Peterson. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2014.

About the Authors

Darren Dochuk is associate professor in the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics and Department of History at Washington University in St. Louis.
Thomas S. Kidd is professor of history at Baylor University.
Kurt W. Peterson is director of development, Office of Advancement, Loyola University Chicago.
Contributors: Margaret Bendroth, Jay R. Case, Darren Dochuk, Timothy E.G. Gloege, Michael S. Hamilton, Barry Hankins, Thomas S. Kidd, Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Kathryn T. Long, Mark Noll, Steven M. Nolt, Rick Ostrander, Kurt W. Peterson, Garth M. Rosell, John Schmalzbauer, William L. Svelmoe, David R. Swartz, Douglas A. Sweeney, John G. Turner, Peter J. Wallace, John Wigger.


“It is an elegant, witty, and finely nuanced account of how fundamentalists and other evangelical Protestants were shaping and being shaped by postwar American culture. . . Likewise, the ‘new directions’ essays are a remarkable display of talent and interpretive verve.” (The Catholic Historical Review)

“. . . this volume [is] a sort of a double tribute. On the manifest level, it pays tribute to Marsden in words, but on the latent level, the overall substance of this volume is itself a reflection of Marsden’s lasting influence upon the writers.” (Fides et Historia)

image of Marsden George American Evangelicism Book Chapter


“This format, as the editors suggest and the impressive assembly of contributors skillfully imparts, sculpts something larger than a tribute; the volume’s value for instruction is manifest and, as such, it bestows to another generation a clear view of the terrain, an edifying lens through which to view it, and a prolific yet discerning exemplar for the future of the discipline.” (Religious Studies Review)

“The authors use Marsden’s seminal books as a springboard to discuss the challenges and opportunities confronting a new generation of American religious historians. . . this [is a] treasure trove of thoughtful essays, which, by building on Marsden’s impressive foundation, perceptively assess many key aspects of America’s religious history.” (The Journal of American History)

“This impressive collection of essays by many of the nation’s most distinguished historians of American religion stands not only as a fitting Festschrift in honor of George Marsden but also as testimony to the incredibly rich and diverse scholarship currently addressing the history of American evangelicalism. This is truly a landmark volume for understanding the state of American religious history.” (Robert Wuthnow, Princeton University)

“Together, these essays offer a compelling case for understanding the depth and breadth of Marsden’s work. . . This is a powerful testament to the tremendous impact of Marsden’s career on the narrating of American religious history.” (Journal of Church and State)

“George Marsden’s intellectual interests have made a wide-ranging yet coherent Festschrift possible. The editors and authors have deftly used Marsden’s breadth within the history of evangelicalism to bring coherence to the volume through essays on five major aspects of American evangelical history. American Evangelicalism can be read by graduate students in American religious history and certainly will give historians interested in the evolving character of American evangelical scholarship and success a holistic treatment not found anywhere else.” (Jon Butler, Howard R. Lamar Emeritus Professor of American Studies, History and Religious Studies, Yale University)

This festschrift honors one of the finest twentieth-century scholars of the evolution of evangelicalism and its relationship to US culture. The essays examine the absolutely critical role Marsden played in the development of contemporary historical scholarship regarding US Protestant evangelicalism, while illustrating the state of such scholarship today. ―Choice

“In these thoroughly researched, compellingly argued pathbreaking works, Marsden… inspired many other scholars to investigate and write about… topics that greatly enhance our understanding of the role and importance of religion―especially evangelicalism―in American life… this treasure trove of thoughtful essays, which, by building on Marsden’s impressive foundation, perceptively assess many key aspects of America’s religious history.” (The Journal of American History)

“American Evangelicalism is a grandly conceived and skillfully executed Festschrift in honor of George M. Marsden. The affection and regard for Marsden from his colleagues and former students shines through one essay after another. As a major historian of American evangelicalism whose scholarly range spans from the colonial era well into the twentieth century, Marsden very much deserves this impressive tribute.” (Leigh Eric Schmidt, Edward C. Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor in the Humanities, Washington University in St. Louis)

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