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
Professor 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 Professor William Romanowski of Calvin’s CAS department. They occasionally team-teach a course that uses Hollywood films as windows into American history from Kennedy to Reagan.
Professor Bratt's research interests on the U.S. side focuses on 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.
In comparative history, Professor Bratt recently published 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.
Professor Bratt has had three books come out in the past few years, aided by a Fulbright grant to the Netherlands in 2010. He is offering papers at conferences aimed at fleshing out his next book, on antebellum American religion. He also serves Calvin College as director of the first-year DCM (Developing a Christian Mind) program.
Life outside of Calvin College
Professor 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.
See a partial list of Jim Bratt's publications.
Read Jim Bratt's posts on Historical Horizons, the history department blog.