I am a historian of Christianity in America, with interests in commemoration, memory, and material culture. I currently teach at Messiah University in south-central Pennsylvania.
At the university, I wear multiple hats. First, I serve as the director of the E. Morris and D. Leone Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies. In this role, I draw on my training as a historian to help the university community (and its founding denomination, the Brethren in Christ Church) understand and interpret its history and theological heritage. My role involves planning an annual study conference and various lectures, administering various research grants and fellowships, and other activities.
Second, I am senior lecturer in the humanities. I teach a variety of courses including in the areas of religious studies, history, and theology. I also teach in our honors program and our first-year general education program, which focuses on helping students become critical thinkers and engaged writers.
Finally, I also serve as the director of archives, supervising collections related to Messiah University, the Brethren in Christ Church, and the Ernest L. Boyer Center, a Messiah alumnus and one of the most significant leaders in American education in the twentieth century.
As a scholar, my research focuses on the history of Christianity in the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. My current book project, Exhibiting Evangelicalism: Commemoration, Conservative Christianity, and Religion’s Presence of the Past, is the first book-length study of the history of evangelical museums and historical sites in the twentieth- and twenty-first-century United States. It argues that evangelical purveyors of public memory have forged a unique set of practices for preserving and interpreting the past and have deployed those practices toward varying theological, cultural, and political ends–an approach I term “evangelical heritage.” It also argues that these practices existed within and contributed to broader patterns of historical commemoration, including discourses central to the emerging profession of public history. Based on extensive research in numerous archives and drawing upon previously inaccessible sources, Exhibiting Evangelicalism offers a new narrative of the culture wars and of religion’s role in shaping public culture in the United States.
My scholarly work has appeared in Church History, Fides et Historia, Mennonite Quarterly Review, The Wesleyan Theological Journal, The Conrad Grebel Review, Brethren in Christ History and Life, and other scholarly and popular publications.
My wife, Katie, and I are parents to an active kindergartener, Lucas. We live in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
You can follow me on Twitter @devinmzt.