BU history professor recognized for book on Christian history

By Pablo Gonzales | Assistant News Editor

Dr. Joseph Stubenrauch, associate professor of history, was awarded the 2017 Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Book Prize for his book, “The Evangelical Age of Ingenuity in Industrial Britain.”

This award is given by the American Society of Church History, a scholarly community that is dedicated to studying the history of Christianity and how it relates to culture in all time periods, locations and contexts. According to its website, the American Society of Church History is one of the oldest and most distinguished historical societies in the U.S.

According to the American Society of Church History, Stubenrauch received the prize for outstanding research in church history by a first-time author. His book explores the development of modern Christianity during 19th century Britain and how it relates to evangelicalism.

Stubenrauch has taught at Baylor for six years and primarily teaches courses in British and world history, as well as graduate courses in cultural history. Stubenrauch’s first experience with this topic was as a high school student working at a Christian bookstore. He noticed the home decor in the bookstore with Scripture on it. From wall hangings to door signs, he saw how Christians were expressing their faith in a tangible way.

Later on, while reading on consumerism and homeware goods in 19th century Britain, Stubenrauch came across plates that said, “Prepare to Meet thy God.”

“I got interested in this plate because it was pretty grim, but it’s also a consumer object,” Stubenrauch said. “When I encountered these narratives from historians on consumerism as providing an alternative to religion or pushing aside religion, I thought maybe for some people, but what about religious knick-knacks like these and the ways that evangelicals are good at reaching mass audiences through them?”

For Stubenrauch, the most enjoyable part about getting his book published has been the response he’s gotten from those who have read the book or those he has presented to.

“It’s been fun in that I think that what I have found often surprises people but in an interesting way,” Stubenrauch said. “They will inevitably bring up their experiences in remembering that their Mom might have had that stuff on the wall or I had to grow up reading these stories, so it’s interesting seeing how people connect to it.”

Dr. Barry Hankins, professor and chair of the history department, said in a press release that he was very proud that Stubenrauch received this award.

“We’re pleased but not surprised that Dr. Stubenrauch has won the Brewer Prize. His outstanding book and the award recognizing it signal that he is one of the top young scholars in a field of study he will help shape for decades to come.”