Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Associate Professor of the History of Christianity and Wesleyan/Methodist Studies
Ph.D., Drew University
Professor Davis’s teaching and research is in the broader field of Christianity in the Americas including race, nationalism, and the history of missions; slavery and racial segregation among Christians; Wesleyan and Methodist movements; and Christians and war. He is currently at work on a book manuscript, tentatively entitled, Seeing Need, Spreading Christian Civilization: Photography and North American Missions, 1880-1940.
Professor Davis was the 2010-2011 Scholar in Residence at the Burke Library, Union Theological Seminary, New York.
Publications & Presentations
The Methodist Unification: Christianity and the Politics of Race in the Jim Crow Era. New York University Press, 2008.
“Methodism: Consolidation and Reunion, 1865-1939,” chapter in The Ashgate Research Companion to World Methodism. Peter Forsaith, William Gibson, Martin Wellings, editors. Ashgate Publishing, 2013.
“Methodists and Race,” chapter in The Cambridge Companion to American Methodism. Jason Vickers, editor. Cambridge University Press, 2013.
“Early Twentieth-Century Methodist Missions Photography: The Problems of ‘Home.‘” Methodist Review 2 (2010): 33–67.
“Methodism and Ecumenical Dialogue,” interview in One in Christ: 40 Years of Christian Dialogue [DVD video-recording], Pastoral Communications, Diocese of Brooklyn, NY, 2007.
“Colleen McDannell’s ‘Picturing Faith: Religious America in U.S. Government Photography, 1935-1943” Exhibition Review in Journal of American History, December 2001.
“From the Gospel Circuit to the War Circuit: Bp. Matthew Simpson and Upwardly-Mobile Methodism” Methodist History, April 2000.
Selected Professional Presentations
Annual AAR Conference, respondent to “Methodism in the American Civil War” session. November 23, 2013, Baltimore, Maryland.
Invited presenter for UMC History course instructors, at The UMC After Tampa: A United Methodist Faculty Consultation. Candler School of Theology, Atlanta, GA, April 4-7, 2013.
“Before and After,” Spring Matriculation Address, Drew Theological School, Fall 2009. Also printed in Theo Spirit, Vol. 8, no. 1, (2010): 16–19.
“J. Kameron Carter’s Race: A Theological Account.” Invited panel response to author, Annual Meeting of the AAR, Montreal, Canada, 2009.
“Looking Abroad for the Villain at Home: American Missions Photography as Cultural Mirror.” Yale-Edinburgh Group on the History of the Missionary Movement and Non-Western Christianity, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, August 2008.
“Seeing Need and Defining ‘Christian Civilization:’ American Methodist Missionaries and the use of Photography.” Oxford Institute for Methodist Studies, Oxford, England, August, 2007.
“Learning Christian History: A Path to Humility,” Fall Matriculation address, Drew Theological School, 2006. Also printed in Theo Spirit, Vol. 6, no. 1, Fall 2007
Moderator at World Methodist Historical Society meeting, at World Methodist Council, Seoul, South Korea, August 2006.
“Pan-Methodist Union and the Demands of ‘American Christian Civilization:’ An Early 20th-Century Attempt.” National AAR Annual Meeting, November, 2005.
“’A Perfect Fraternal Intimacy:’ Methodists and the Language of Race in WWI America.” Columbia University Seminar on American Religion, September, 2004.
“Racism, American Religion, and the Wesleyan Holiness Movement.” Invited Lecture, Drew at Ocean Grove Program, July, 2004.
“(Race) History as a Bearer of Denominational Identity: Reconsidering Russell Richey’s Methodist Case Study.” Mid-Atlantic Regional AAR, March, 2004.
“America – Over Here and Over There.” Race, Religion, and Reconciliation Conference, Emory University, April, 2001.
“Colleen McDannell’s ‘Picturing Faith:’ A Visual Essay on U.S. History, Religion, and Aesthetics.” Invited Lecture, the Robert Wilson Gallery, Merrillat Centre, Huntington College, Huntington, IN. September, 2000.
“Benjamin Franklin, Dissimulation, and Pedagogical Aesthetic.” Craft, Critique, Culture: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Writing and the Academy. University of Iowa, September, 2000.
“The Color of Power: Race, Region, and Reunion in 20th Century Methodism.” Annual National Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Orlando, Florida, November, 1998.
“H. C. Morrison and Social Class Consciousness: Formations of a Holiness Theology and Ideology.” Annual Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Academy of Religion, March, 1998.
Race and American Christianity (Chist 268)
An intensive consideration of the power of race in American Christian cultures, with an emphasis on recent critical theories of race.
History of Christian Missions from the Reform Era to the Twentieth Century (Chist 269)
Beginning with the emergence of mission energy within Roman Catholic religious societies in the sixteenth century, this course will follow the spread of Christianity from Europe and then England and North America, finishing with the twentieth-century mission impulse from the “missionized” Christian world.
Revivalism and American Christianity (Chist 279)
This course will explore the ways in which scholars have understood the religious phenomenon known as “revival.” Using both primary and secondary sources and moving from the early eighteenth century to the twentieth, we will investigate this topic as a historiographical problem and look for new ways to talk about the elements of religious experience that have conventionally been marked as the framework for revivals.
America: One Nation, One God? (Chist 250)
Weaving historical insights and perspectives into current concerns about religion and national identity, this class focuses on major religious movements, personalities, and topics in the United States. It foregrounds the study of American Christian traditions, due to their historical influence, yet also gives some attention to non-Christian religions as well.
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