Cushwa Center welcomes new postdoctoral fellows

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This year, two of the Cushwa Center’s postdoctoral fellows completed three years with the Cushwa Center. Matteo Binasco served as Cushwa’s inaugural Rome fellow based at Notre Dame’s Rome Global Gateway. Roman Sources for the History of American Catholicism, 1763–1939, written by Matteo and edited by Kathleen Sprows Cummings, is scheduled for publication in spring 2018. Matteo also served as a lead organizer for Cushwa’s June 2017 conference, North Atlantic Catholic Communities in Rome, 1622–1939. In September, Matteo was at Durham University for a short-term research fellowship. In 2017–2018 he will be teaching at the University of Siena and the University of Genoa.

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Since 2014, Cushwa’s postdoctoral fellow Catherine Osborne served as administrator for the Conference on the History of Women Religious, organizing the tenth triennial CHWR at Santa Clara University; managing; and editing the History of Women Religious section of this newsletter. She planned several other conferences and curated the fall 2015 exhibit Outsider at the Vatican: Frederick Franck’s Drawings from the Second Vatican Council (now viewable at Together with Mark Massa, S.J., Catherine edited the second edition of American Catholic History: A Documentary Reader (NYU Press, 2017). Her book American Catholics and the Church of Tomorrow, 1930–1975 is forthcoming with University of Chicago Press in 2018. During 2017–2018, Catherine is visiting assistant professor in the Department of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Our thanks go to Catherine and Matteo for their work at Cushwa over the past three years. As friends and collaborators of the center know well, their contributions have enriched the work of the center immensely.

The center welcomed two new postdoctoral fellows this summer:

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Peter Cajka earned his Ph.D. in history from Boston College this spring, and studies 20th-century U.S. intellectual and cultural history with an emphasis on Catholicism. His dissertation is titled “The Rights of Conscience: The Rise of Tradition in America’s Age of Fracture, 1940–1990.” He has published articles in Ohio History and American Catholic Studies, and is a regular contributor to the blog Religion in American History. Peter was a dissertation fellow of the Louisville Institute for 2016–2017. He holds a bachelor of arts in history from the University of Dayton and a master’s degree in history from Marquette University. Among Peter’s responsibilities at the center will be administering the Conference on the History of Women Religious.

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Benjamin Wetzel was most recently a postdoctoral teaching fellow with Notre Dame’s Department of History, where he earned his Ph.D. in 2016. Ben studies the intersection of American religion, politics, and intellectual life in the period from 1860 to 1920. He has published articles in The Journal of Church and State and The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. He is currently at work on two book-length projects. The first, based on his revised dissertation, is tentatively titled American Crusade: Lyman Abbott and the Christian Nation at War, 1860–1920. The second, under advance contract with Oxford University Press, is a religious biography titled Theodore Roosevelt: Preaching from the Bully Pulpit. Ben earned his bachelor of arts in history from Grove City College and his master’s degree in history from Baylor University. In addition to managing Cushwa’s blog posts at Religion in American History and collaborating on center conferences and publication projects, Ben will be organizing a series of events at Notre Dame for 2018–2019.

Welcome, Ben and Pete!