|Paxton (PA) Presbyterian Church|
Over at Religion in American History, Bucknell’s Brantley Gasaway asks:
To what extent does place matter to us? How, if at all, has the nature of your own place influenced your teaching and even research on religion in America? In what ways are you taking advantage of the unique religious landscape and resources of your area?
Brantley reflects on how his location in central Pennsylvania has shaped the way he teaches American religion. For example, Amish and other Anabaptist groups have played a much greater role in his classes. He is even thinking about future scholarly projects that will utilize the resources of his particular place.
I can definitely relate to Brantley’s post. I live in the same general region (although about an hour south on Route 15) and have also given serious thought to how this place has influenced my scholarship and teaching.
On the teaching front, next year I will be offering a course on Pennsylvania History for the first time I am hoping the course will focus on both content and methodology. I want the region to be a laboratory for my students where they can sharpen their skills in public history and oral history.
In terms of scholarship, my current book project on Presbyterians and the American Revolution will draw upon some of the rich resources of the region, particularly as they relate to the Paxton Boys and the Revolution on the Pennsylvania frontier.
Brantley’s post has reminded me that place matters when it comes to our understanding of work and identity. Thanks.