Late Medieval and Reformation Scholar Receives Guggenheim Fellowship

Lori Harwood
May 22, 2003

Susan C. Karant-Nunn, professor of history and director of the Division for Late Medieval and Reformation Studies at the University of Arizona, has received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for 2003-2004. Karant-Nunn was one of 184 successful applicants out of a total of 3,282. According to the Foundation, "Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment."

Ed Donnerstein, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, said "We congratulate Susan on this very prestigious award. We are proud to have someone of her caliber in our College."

Karant-Nunn will use her fellowship to continue her research in Germany beginning in September. She will divide her time among Heidelberg, Munich and Berlin. She currently is writing a book on the efforts of the major post-Reformation religious creeds - Lutheranism, Calvinism and Catholicism - in molding the emotions of Christians. Her preliminary study suggests that while Catholicism left the late-medieval model of affective piety intact, the emerging Protestant denominations attempted to calm worshipers and to foster in the laity a more rational understanding of the theology on which the events of Holy Week before Easter and the sacrament of Holy Communion were based. They also urged greater restraint in social observances outside the church.

Karant-Nunn came to the University of Arizona in 1999. After the death of renowned historian Heiko A. Oberman, she became director of the Division of Late Medieval and Reformation Studies. She has written 40 articles and three previous books and is the editor or coeditor of four others books. Her book "The Reformation of Ritual: An Interpretation of Early Modern Germany" (Routledge 1999) won the 1998 Roland H. Bainton Prize in History and Theology, awarded by the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference. She is North American Managing Coeditor of the Archive for Reformation History, a century-old international journal featuring research on late medieval and early modern religion.

Karant-Nunn has played a central role in the effort to achieve the endowment of the Heiko A. Oberman Chair in Late Medieval and Reformation History, and the simultaneous acquisition of Heiko Oberman's valuable personal research library for the University of Arizona.

Karant-Nunn stated, "Without e-mail and fax, I would not be able to go away for a year. These devices will enable me to stay in regular touch with my doctoral students."