The Eighty-Fourth Annual Meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association

By McGinn, Bernard; Athans, Mary Christine et al. | The Catholic Historical Review, April 2004 | Go to article overview

The Eighty-Fourth Annual Meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association


McGinn, Bernard, Athans, Mary Christine, Berman, Constance H., Parker, Charles H., et al., The Catholic Historical Review


Report of the Committee on Program

The Program Committee, consisting of Bernard McGinn (University of Chicago), Robin Darling Young (University of Notre Dame), Dennis D. Martin (Loyola University Chicago), Jay Dolan (University of Notre Dame), Robert Bireley, S.J. (Loyola University Chicago), and Kathleen Conzen (University of Chicago), issued the standard call for papers through the journal of the Association. Members of the committee worked hard to solicit panels. In addition, several excellent submissions for panels came from members of the Association. Submissions of individual papers were sparse. The experience of this year's committee emphasizes the need for members of the ACHA to work toward building panels for coming meetings.

The Eighty-Fourth Annual Meeting took place in Washington, D.C. January 9, 10, and 11, at the Omni Shoreham hotel. Seventy-six persons registered their attendance. Thirteen sessions were held with a good overall balance of periods and issues (one early Christian, three medieval, one early modern, four American Catholicism, and four on general topics across different periods). A wellattended session was co-sponsored with our sister society, the American Society of Church History.

The first session on Friday, January 9, at 9:30, discussed "The Archaeology of Early Christian Sites." Chaired by J. Patout Burns of Vanderbilt University, this panel provided a multi-media presentation of two significant early Christian excavations. William Tabbernee of Phillips Theological Seminary presented his findings on the long-lost site of the center of ancient Montanism, Pepuza, while Robin Jensen of Vanderbilt University discussed her work on early Christian burial rituals in Tipasa, Algeria. Robert Wilken of the University of Virginia provided an incisive comment, stressing the significance of archaeology for the wider study of early Christianity. Twelve to fifteen people attended.

Also at 9:30 on Friday morning a panel on "Writing Catholic Women's History" was held, which attracted a large audience of forty to forty-five. Chaired by Mel Piehl of Valparaiso University, this session featured two talks: Coleen Seguin, also of Valparaiso University, spoke on "Women and Religious Persecution in Early Modern Europe: The Case of the English Catholics"; and Kathleen Sprows Cummings addressed the topic,'"The Morbid Consciousness of Womanhood': Gender, American Catholics, and the case against Women's Suffrage, 1890-1918." Comment was provided by Leslie Tentler of the Catholic University of America, and a lively discussion period ensued.

At 2:30 on Friday, January 9, a panel on "Franciscan Mysticism in the Middle Ages" was attended by about fifteen participants. Chaired by Bernard McGinn, three papers addressed different aspects of thirteenth-century Franciscan mysticism. J. A. Wayne Hellman of Saint Louis University spoke on "Thomas of Celano-The First Franciscan Mystic?" Ingrid Peterson of the Franciscan Institute discussed "St. Francis's Role in Franciscan Women's Mystical Experience," stressing the cases of Clare of Assisi and Angela of Foligno. Ellen Babinsky of Austin Presbyterian Seminary also treated Angela in a paper entitled " 'Nakedly Following the Naked Christ": Angela of Foligno's Embodied Mysticism." Jay Hammond of Quincy University gave a stimulating response, and there was a lively discussion.

A second medieval session was also conducted in the 2:30 slot, a panel jointly sponsored by the American Society of Church History on the topic "Back to the 'Christian Middle Ages'historiography of Medieval Religion, 1984-2004." This panel, which attracted an audience of thirty-six, was designed to re-examine a classic paper delivered by John Van Engen of the University of Notre Dame at the joint ACHA-ASCH Meeting in Chicago in 1984 (later published in the American Historical Review). Organized and introduced by Maureen C. Miller of the University of California at Berkeley, it comprised three papers. …

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