William Katerberg, Professor, History
Director, Mellema Program in Western American Studies
Prof. Katerberg will be directing the 2012 NEH Summer Institute for Teachers, “American Frontiers in Global Perspective.” Find out more.
Research and professional interests
Prof. Katerberg is a cultural historian of the U.S. and Canada, with research interests in the North American West, religion and politics, literature and film, comparative history, and social theory. The long-term continuities in his work are (1) the relationship between religion, politics, and culture; (2) trans-national perspectives on American history; and (3) the relationship between cultural identities, politics, and critical historiography.
His first book—Modernity and the Dilemma of North American Anglican Identities, 1880-1950—dealt with these issues by looking at how a religious tradition responded to social, intellectual, and cultural changes during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has published essays on nativism, national identity, and the place of religion in U.S. and Canadian politics and public life. In a collection he co-edited and to which he contributed a chapter, The Future of Hope (2004), he explored the intersection of political theory, philosophy, and religion. And in Future West: Utopia and Apocalypse in Frontier Science Fiction (2008), he used the methods of intellectual history, political theory, and literary criticism to examine science fiction novels and films set in the American West of the near future to analyze the relationship between visions of the past and visions of the future, and to critique American political culture. He has also co-written a survey history textbook on the American West: Conquests & Consequences: The American West from Frontier to Region (2009).
Prof. Katerberg's current research projects lie in two loosely overlapping areas: (1) the history of violence and power in the American West; and, (2) the history of extremism and its influence on mainstream society in the U.S., especially the roles of fear, conspiracy thinking, apocalypticism, and notions of masculine honor in American political and religious culture.
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Life outside of Calvin College
"I enjoy hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, and photography, especially outdoor and travel photography. In the past few years, I’ve been on trips to Peru (hiking to Machu Picchu), the Teton Range in Wyoming (climbing Grand Teton), and Ladakh, which is in the Indian Himalayas."
Prof. Katerberg is director of the Mellema Program in Western American Studies.
See a partial list of Will Katerberg's publications.