Justin Poché

College of the Holy Cross
Candidate for Election Board Chair

Candidate statement

Justin Poché
Justin Poché

I am truly honored to accept this nomination as chair of the ACHA Elections Committee. I have been involved with the ACHA since my time as a doctoral student at the University of Notre Dame in the early 2000s. Since this time, I have considered the organization my first and most enduring home. The opportunities to interact with scholars, archivists, librarians and many other fellow-travelers in our shared pursuit of the past have energized my work and inspired new directions and collaborations. 

I received my Ph.D. in 2007 with an emphasis on American Catholicism, 20th Century U.S., history and U.S. Latinx and Latin American history. Most of my work focuses on the intersections of religion, race, social science, and social policy from the Great Depression to the present day. I examine how Catholicism constructed race and the “race problem” from post-Civil War missionary endeavors through interracialist activism and the larger social apostolate in the twentieth century. My research has led to publication on the role of Catholic practice in shaping the culture of Jim Crow in twentieth century Louisiana to an examination of the life and work of Catholic convert John Howard Griffin, the author of Black Like Me. This work will culminate in my forthcoming, Separate but Sinful: Catholicism and the Color Line in 20th Century Louisiana (under contract with LSU Press). 

Building on this work and my scholarly background in Latinx history, I currently serve on the steering committee and work as co-author of the Latino History Project of Worcester. The LPHW is a grassroots community project that brings the multifaceted stories of Worcester’s diverse and dynamic Latinx community to the larger public. We also aim this work toward local K-12 schools and scholars using an online digital humanities platform, a published volume on this centuries-long experience, and an upcoming exhibition at the Worcester Historical Museum. 

I have been a member of the history department at the College of the Holy Cross since 2008. I am currently a director in the college’s first year program, Montserrat.  where I teach courses ranging from American religion and Catholicism in the U.S. to the U.S. Mexico Border, the Historian’s Craft, U.S. Latinx history, Religion and Politics in 20th Century America, a first-year seminar on American “Contemplatives in Action,” a senior seminar on Race and Religion, and my favorite course on the very “Catholic” topic of Pain and Suffering in American Thought and Culture. 



Poche CV