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Assembly Series

A tradition of convening thought leaders since 1953

McKelvey School of Engineering

Brown School

Religion and Politics after January 6

Thursday, March 21 | 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Hurst Lounge, Duncker Hall 201

Join Tracy Fessenden and Abram Van Engen in a public conversation that puts Culture and Redemption and City on a Hill in dialogue, reflecting on how the thesis of each has fared in light of the January 6 insurrection. Fessenden’s book explores American secularity and public spheres; Van Engen’s book offers a history of American exceptionalism. Both books consider the long legacies of puritanism in America, and both scholars will discuss together the puritans as template, generative or otherwise, for writing about religion and literature in America. Mark Valeri will moderate the discussion and join the discourse with reflections from his book The Opening of the Protestant Mind.

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations


Arts & Sciences


Humanities & Society



John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics
Event Contact


Speaker Information

Tracy Fessenden is the Steve and Margaret Forster Professor in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies and Director of Strategic Initiatives in the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University. Her work focuses on religion and American literature and the arts; gender, race, and sexuality in American religious history; and the relationship between religion and the secular in American law, culture, and public life. 

Abram Van Engen is Stanley Elkin Professor in the Humanities and Chair of the Department of English at Washington University in St. Louis. He has published widely on religion and literature, focusing especially on seventeenth-century Puritans and the way they have been remembered and remade in American culture. 

Mark Valeri is the Reverend Priscilla Wood Neaves Distinguished Professor of Religion and Politics and currently serves as the Director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. His areas of specialization include religion and social thought, especially economics, in America; Reformation theology and the political history of Calvinism; Puritanism; and enlightenment moral philosophy. 

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