Karen E. Park, Candidate for Executive Council (Seat A)

Candidate statement for 2018 ACHA Election

I am pleased to accept the nomination for candidacy for the Executive Council of the ACHA. I am an Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI and I serve as the Director of the American Studies program and Chair of the Killeen Chair Committee for Theology and Philosophy. Over the last decade, I have been involved with the ACHA through organizing several panels, presenting various papers, and serving as moderator and/or commentator. The ACHA has been extraordinarily valuable to me as a place to exchange ideas and think through important dimensions of American Catholic religious history, and I would welcome the chance to serve on the executive council.

In recent years, my research on American Catholic History has led to several publications on the negotiation of sacred space and the uses of ecclesial power, particularly with regard to Marian shrines. My essay Citadel of Orthodoxy: Meaning Message and Pilgrimage Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine (American Catholic Studies, 2017) looks at Cardinal Raymond Burke’s shrine tn La Crosse WI as a site of intra-Catholic traditionalist identity-building. My essay represents the first scholarly treatment of that site, which was completed in 2008. I am currently working on a book manuscript about the shrine. In addition to my scholarly work, in recent years I have turned my attention to writing for a broader public because I feel that we live in a time where the careful analysis of religious phenomena is essential to the health of our society. Since deliberately turning my attention to more public forms of scholarship, I have become a regular contributor to the online journal Religion Dispatches, and have also been published in Commonweal, America, Sojourners and other national publications. This new dimension of my life as a scholar is something I plan to continue going forward, and if elected I would work to bring our collective scholarly expertise and voices to as broad an audience as possible.

I am an enthusiastic planner and organizer, and should I be elected I would be attentive to the needs of the ACHA and would bring my full attention and dedication to the position. Thank you for considering my candidacy.

Curriculum vitae

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