Iona Professor Leads American Catholic Historical Association

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Dr. James T. Carroll, a history professor at Iona College, assumed the presidency of the American Catholic Historical Association during the association’s 100th annual conference in Manhattan. The Jan. 3-5 gathering occurred at Sheraton New York Times Square.

“I hope to bring it forward and build on a very strong foundation that has already been built,” Carroll told Catholic New York after a Jan. 3 ACHA panel discussion on Catholic Mass Media and New York Modernity.

“We look at things very globally—American Catholicism, worldwide Catholicism, trends in the Church.”

About 150 people registered to attend the conference.

Carroll was installed as president at a luncheon Jan. 4. Cardinal Dolan offered the invocation.

Carroll, who will serve a one-year term as president, added that it is “a very competitive process to get your (research) paper accepted here, on the history of Catholicism—history, philosophy, theology, etc.

“It really is a broad-based movement that started in 1919, when a group of priests got together and wanted to form this association. And here we are 101 years later. I did read the papers. I think they were very high quality.”

Dr. Charles T. Strauss, associate history professor at Mount St. Mary University in Emmitsburg, Md., serves as the ACHA’s executive secretary-treasurer. He told CNY one thing that seems to be getting a lot of attention “is the future of archives.”

“A lot of dioceses and schools have trouble maintaining their archives, and there are scholars here who rely on them—and they are trying to come up with ways to protect them. So there will be a lot of people interested in protecting the archives going forward.”

Strauss noted, “This conference has tremendous significance because it is the only time that historians who study the history of Catholicism meet in one place every year. And so it renews people’s connections, and it gives an opportunity to see what the latest trends are in various fields.”

During the panel discussion on Catholic Mass Media and New York Modernity, four panelists read from research papers they had submitted to the association. Tim Dulle, a theology graduate student at Fordham University, spoke on “Public Radio Ad Extra: WFUV and the Mission of Fordham University.”

Dulle talked about changes at the university’s radio station over the years, including having increased variety in music programs, and fewer discussion time slots.

Adrienne Nock Ambrose, French chair and associate professor of religious studies at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, spoke on “The Madonna Takes Manhattan: The Repurposing of a Medieval Marian Miracle,” which looked at Catholic identity in the Hollywood industry from the 1920s to the 1940s.

Francesca Cadeddu, a researcher at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy, and Federico Ruozzi, a visual history professor at the same university, spoke about “Going to the Cinema? The Catholic Film Policy in New York,” mainly on the Catholic Church in New York monitoring morality issues in film during the early decades of cinema.

Another conference highlight was a Jan. 3 tour of the Archives of the Archdiocese of New York and St. Joseph’s Seminary, both located on the seminary’s Dunwoodie campus.

The American Catholic Historical Association held the conference in conjunction with the American Historical Association. The ACHA program included panels covering the Catholic-Protestant Divide, Catholic Responses to Nationalism and Communism, The Catholic Worker Movement, Building Catholic Networks in New York City, and Catholicism and the Question of Racism.

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