B.A., History, Calvin College
Ph.D., specialties in American intellectual and religious history and the history of immigration, Yale University
Research and professional interests
Prof. Bratt's principal teaching areas include U.S. intellectual and religious history, particularly in the 19th century, and the history of colonial America. Interim courses include the history of the American Revolution and, more recently, Film Noir in American Culture, which he co-teaches with Prof. William Romanowski of Calvin’s CAS department. They will team teach a new course in Spring term 2013, using Hollywood films as windows into American history from Kennedy to Reagan.
Prof. Bratt's research interests on the U.S. side: changes in religion in the middle of the 19th century, exploring why the “Second Great Awakening” ebbed out and what replaced it on the religious scene.
And in comparative history, Prof. Bratt is working on a biography of Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920), a Dutch religious and political leader whose life and thought are particularly relevant to current questions about church-state relations and the role of religious viewpoints in cultural affairs.
Prof. Bratt has had two books come out in the past year and is looking forward to delivering a third—the Kuyper biography—in 2013. He finished the research for this work on a Fulbright grant to the Netherlands in 2010. He is currently serving Calvin College as director of the first-year DCM (Developing a Christian Mind) program.
Life outside of Calvin College
Prof. Bratt enjoys reading and writing at the cottage he and his wife own near Lake Michigan. He regularly volunteers in local political campaigns and serves on the council of his local church. His most pleasurable recent vacation was touring the Netherlands with family members. He enjoys visiting his children who currently live in Dallas, Philadelphia, and Berkeley, and hopes someday soon to visit the one in China, too. He fights the aging process by working out (cross-training and yoga) and thinks heaven will be a lot like the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Professor Bratt blogs bi-weekly at The Twelve: Reformed Done Daily. http://the12.squarespace.com/.
See a partial list of James Bratt's publications.