Later this month, the elective ballot will go out for two open seats on the Executive Council of the Association for a term of three years. The Council is composed of the officers of the Association together with six delegates at large who are vested with the management of the ACHA. At large members of the Council traditionally represent a wide spectrum from the varied fields of Catholic history. This year the two Council members completing their terms are Americanists. Therefore the Nominating Committee has proposed four candidates who research and teach in the area of American Catholicism. Three of the four candidates have provided a statement about the election.
Anne Klejment, Professor of History at the University of Saint Thomas has worked in the area of 20th century American Cultural History. Her research interests include the Catholic Worker Movement, Pax Christi, Catholic Non-Violence, Dorothy Day, the Berrigans and Caesar Chavez. She writes:
“ACHA needs to remain a vital organization promoting the historical study of Catholics and Catholicism and linking its members into a global and increasingly diverse community of scholars. In particular, the possibilities of the electronic era give us great potential to connect with new members, create communities of cyber scholars, and introduce interested persons to our rich scholarship. Our Winter and Spring meetings offer incomparable opportunities for sharing informally and being introduced to cutting edge research. The meetings offer another opportunity for ACHA to build membership. Our members are our future and the future of Catholic history, which is still a rich source for scholars.
I am dedicated to finding creative ways to build ACHA’s financial base to ensure its continuing work. Supporting the work of young and established scholars should continue to be a priority of ACHA. We might also consider ways of supporting innovative pedagogy for high school and university level Catholic history curricula.
Many members, myself included, particularly enjoy the informal and smaller Spring meetings and renewing the friendships that have continued over the years. All of us have benefited greatly from the generosity of ACHA scholars who have read and critiqued our work.”
R. Bentley Anderson, S.J.
R. Bentley Anderson, S.J. is Associate Professor of History at Fordham University. His research interests include African American Catholic History, Racism and Catholicism in America. He is presently at work on an article on the Jesuits and racial segregation. He writes:
“Ever since I first joined the American Catholic Historical Association in 1989, I have appreciated not only the scholarly and intellectual aspects of the organization but I’ve also appreciated the professional and personal friendships developed over the years. As a member of the Executive Committee, I would like to see us strengthen and deepen this aspect of the organization. I believe one priority that we, as an academic body, should develop is a network of local and regional affiliates. This would engender a certain espirit d’corps and raise the profile of the organization. Furthermore, there needs to be a concerted effort to nurture and develop the next generation of Catholic scholars. I’d like to see the ACHA work with undergraduate and graduate programs to encourage research, scholarship and membership in Catholic studies.
My own interest in race and religion has taken me from exploring the southern United States to South Africa and Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia) as I am interesting in the trans-Atlantic nature of race relations in the context of religious experience. This cross-cultural approach to history has brought in contact with a diverse group of scholars and academics. The ACHA has to reach out on a global level to encourage fellow scholars, develop academic relationships, and explore the multi-dimensional and multi-cultural facets of our common history.
As one will note from my c.v., I have been fortunate enough to publish my research in various journals to include the Catholic Historical Review, Journal of Church and State, US Catholic, American Ethnic History, and American Catholic Studies. Most of my articles were first presented as papers at annual ACHA conferences. My book Black, White and Catholic benefited from ACHA-member reviews. I would hope that members of the Committee would avail themselves to assisting other scholars in reviewing and critiquing works for possible publication.
The other major area of interest the ACHA should undertake is in the area of electronic publication and communication. We have to become tech-savvy in today’s multi-media world. The new web site for the American Catholic Historical Association is a move in the right direction, but more must be done to exploit the possibilities of the net. As a scholar organization, we should be doing more to engage scholars in intellectual conversations via new technologies.
Having served on various university committees to include undergraduate studies, graduate admissions, and faculty development as well as the Board of Trustees of Loyola University New Orleans, I now have a fuller appreciation of institutional identity, group cohesion, and team work. As a faculty moderator of an honor (and social) society, I value inclusiveness, diversity, and excellence. Given the chance to serve members of the ACHA as a Committee member, I will promote these same values, striving to make our organization one that brings unity of purpose out of diversity.
James P. McCartin
James P. McCartin is Associate Professor of History at Seton Hall University. His research interests include working class Catholicism in the 20th century. He is presently at work on a monograph on American Catholicism and Sexuality since 1800. He writes:
“I approach the study of Catholicism both as a way of making popular belief and practice intelligible to historians and as a means of fostering intelligent reflection about the contemporary Church within the American Catholic community. My book, Prayers of the Faithful: The Shifting Spiritual Life of American Catholics (Harvard, 2010), traces a trajectory of change in patterns of belief and practice and challenges the conventional narrative of historical discontinuity between pre-Vatican II and post-Vatican II Catholicism. Beginning with the immigrant Church of the late nineteenth century, I highlight how, over a series of decades, popular spirituality increasingly enabled believers to see themselves as spiritually independent of Church officials and exercise their own judgment in spiritual matters. I am currently at work on a project about American Catholics and sex in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This project will challenge historians’ often simplistic treatment of Catholics and sex, and it will help provide historical context and perspective for understanding the contemporary clerical sexual abuse crisis.
In 2003, I joined the History Department at Seton Hall University where I have taught courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels on American Catholicism, the Church in the modern world, and the twentieth-century United States. I have also served as the Associate Director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Seton Hall. In 2006-07, I was a fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University. I have received research grants from the American Historical Association and the Louisville Institute.
As a member of the ACHA Executive Council, I would emphasize the perspective of younger scholars and graduate students in an effort to encourage their active participation and investment in the Association. I would also hope to identify ways to encourage scholars outside of the immediate field of Catholic history to engage in more fruitful and sustained conversation with Catholic historians. Finally, I would aim to develop ways to enhance the visibility of the Association’s online portfolio in an effort to make its webpage a readily identifiable portal for resources on research and teaching.”
Una Mary Cadegan
Una Mary Cadegan is Associate Professor of History at the University of Dayton. Her research interests include American Catholic Anti-Communism and Catholic Publishing. She is presently at work on a monograph on censorship and Catholic literature. She did not issue a statement.