E-Net News

Irons named scholar in American religion

Charles Irons, assistant professor of history at Elon University, has been named one of ten Young Scholars in American Religion by the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, the premier research institute in the nation working in American religious studies. Details...

Charles Irons

The scholars will gather for meetings over the next three years, exploring teaching and research about religion and increasing their understanding of the diversity of the American religious experience. Senior faculty mentors for the seminars are Amanda Porterfield, the Robert A. Spivey Professor of Religion and director of graduate studies at Florida State University, and Paul Harvey, professor of history at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Irons joined the Elon faculty in 2003 and teaches courses on slavery, the Civil War, American religious history, and the nineteenth-century South. He is an active sponsor of undergraduate research and has received recognition for his innovative and effective teaching. With grant support from Elon's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, he is currently working with Elon students to create a digital archive about Alamance County in the Civil War era.  The first fruits of this project have included student research on Confederate recruitment, white supremacist violence during Reconstruction, and the choices of free blacks during wartime. 

Irons, who has a doctorate from the University of Virginia, studies the spiritual and political consequences of interactions between black and white Southerners within antebellum evangelical churches. He has published several articles on the intersection of religion and politics in Virginia, and his forthcoming book, "The Origins of Proslavery Christianity: White and Black Evangelicals in Colonial and Antebellum Virginia" (UNC Press, 2008), addresses the relationship between evangelicalism and the most contentious political and moral issue in American history. He is currently researching the hundreds of thousands of black evangelicals who retained their affiliation with biracial churches for months – or even years – following the Civil War.

The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture is a research and public outreach institute devoted to the promotion of the understanding of the relation between religion and other features of American culture. Established in 1989, the Center is based in the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Center activities include national conferences and symposia, books, essays, bibliographies and research projects, fellowships for young scholars, communication about developments in the field of American religion, a newsletter and the semiannual scholarly periodical "Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation," which is among the highest-ranked academic journals in the nation.

Dan Anderson,
11/1/2007 9:46 AM