By Dave Papendorf
Summer is under way, and I hope that you are enjoying nice weather and much-needed time off. Even though you’re relaxing (hopefully), I will be hard at work as the new editor of the [Re]collection blog for the remainder of 2018. I am very excited to curate, organize, and present some of the many exciting posts we have ahead this semester.
First, let me introduce myself. My name is Dave Papendorf, and I will be a fifth-year student in the Transnational and Comparative history PhD program at CMU. I spent this past year teaching and researching for my dissertation. Before arriving at CMU, I completed my Master of Divinity degree in historical theology at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Before that, I completed my BA in historical theology at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. As a part of CMU’s Joint PhD in history, I also studied for one year studying at Newcastle University in Newcastle, England. Though I have a background in theology, history has always been of highest interest to me.
My primary area of research is, not surprisingly, the history of Christianity. Specifically, I study the early stages of the Protestant Reformation in France. I became intrigued by the topic while studying as an undergraduate student. Particularly, I realized that none of my assigned textbooks spoke much about the Reformation in France. When they did, they spoke of the Wars of Religion that began with rising hostility between the Reformed party and a subsection of the Catholic party in France during the 1550s. Simply put, it was extraordinarily unsatisfying to me to find fifty years of religious history (approximately 1500-1550) that seemed to be lost to historians. This launched my quest to find the answer.
In order to find this answer – or, at least, to get a closer look at the evidence that can lead to an answer – I have studied for nine more academic years, learned to read in two new languages, and read over three-hundred books (I counted!). And I’m still a long way off! Though the journey has been difficult, frustrating, utterly fascinating, and time-intensive, I have enjoyed the ride so far. Most importantly, it has been my curiosity that has kept me going. Ultimately, I think this is what keeps historians going – the insatiable desire to learn new things.
Some of the most interesting things I have learned along my journey studying history have not been related to history at all; in fact, many of them have a wider application to numerous fields and professions. I hope to gather some of these lessons and share them with you over the next six months as the editor. Thankfully, I have met some great people in my 5 years at CMU. Many of them will be contributing to the blog soon, so stay tuned for words of wisdom, professional advice, and lots of interesting answers to questions about which we are all curious. Finally, I want to thank my friend and colleague Chiara Ziletti for her excellent work this past semester as editor of the blog – she has done a tremendous job, and we will surely miss her.
I wish all of you a happy Fourth of July, and I look forward to hearing from some of you. As always, we encourage and welcome your submissions.