After receiving my B.A. in History from Hillsdale College, I began the History Ph.D. program at Notre Dame in Fall 2017, studying early modern intellectual history with Brad Gregory. My interests broadly lie at the intersection of philosophy, theology, and science in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, particularly how political and cultural shifts in the wake of the Reformation influenced the life of the mind. I specialize in Lutheran universities in the Holy Roman Empire, which have routinely been brushed aside as closed-minded and intellectually stagnant on account of early modern Lutheranism's concern for confessional orthodoxy.
My dissertation, "Confessional Unorthodoxy in Early Modern Lutheran Intellectual Culture (c. 1560-1621)," argues against that narrative: Lutheran universities were in fact vibrant centers of learning. Lutheran professors engaged in the same sorts of debates as intellectuals across early modern Europe, and the confessional character of Lutheranism not only allowed for but even catalyzed intellectual diversity. As a key part of my methodology, I am developing a concept of "unorthodoxy" that helps historians analyze early modern actors without normatively categorizing them into the binary of "orthodox" and "heterodox." In future research, I hope to apply this heuristic to broader swathes of European intellectual culture and to extend my reassessment of Lutheran universities beyond the Thirty Years' War into the eras of Leibniz, Thomasius, and Kant.