Charles Parker, Professor and Chair of the Department


Professor and Chair

E-mail: parkerch@slu.edu


Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1993; 

M.A., Auburn University, 1986; 

B.A., Auburn University, 1981.




Throughout my academic career my research interests have focused on the religious and cultural history of early modern Europe with particular emphasis on the Low Countries. The central questions that have informed my work revolve around the complex ways that individuals and communities experienced and appropriated religious belief. My first book, The Reformation of Community: Social Welfare and Calvinist Charity in Holland, 1572-1620, examines conflicts among urban magistrates and Calvinist church leaders over social provision for the poor in the cities of Holland. My second book, Faith on the Margins: Catholics and Catholicism in the Dutch Golden Age, analyzes the revival of a religious minority, Catholic communities in the Calvinist Netherlands, within a pluralistic social environment. Along the way, I have written articles and essays that address topics on social discipline, religious toleration, personal honor, and Protestant interpretations of history. 

n recent years, I have become drawn to comparative approaches and global patterns in early modern history. The issues in comparative study have expanded my interests in European religious and cultural history within broad global contexts. I am currently finishing a book that surveys major forms of interaction in early modern world history, which include empire building, long distance trade, migration, biological exchange, missionary endeavor, and cultural diffusion. I am also just getting underway on a comparative study of Calvinist communities planted in Asia, Africa, and along the Atlantic basin.

Honors and Fellowships:

  • Chair, Department of History, Saint Louis University
  • Eugene A. Hotfelder Professor in the Humanities, 2010 to 2016
  • Co-director, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for College and
    University Teachers, "Empires and Interactions across the Early Modern World, 1400-
    1800," Saint Louis University, June 3-June 28, 2013.
  • James Ford Bell Library Fellowship, University of Minnesota, 2012.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2010-2011
  • Spencer Foundation, Research Grant, 2002
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Stipend 1997
  • Fulbright Fellowship to the Netherlands, 1990-1991
  • FLAS (Foreign Language Area Studies) Fellowship for Dutch Language study, Summer 1988

Recent Courses Taught:

  • The Historians' Craft: A Methods Proseminar
  • Europe in the Age of the Reformation
  • Plagues and Peoples: Disease and Society in the Pre-Modern World
  • The Rise of Merchant Empires
  • Daily Life in Early Modern Europe
  • Witchcraft and Magic in Early Modern Europe
  • Merchants and Missionaries in the Early Modern World
  • Readings in Early Modern Europe
  • The Reformation (Research Seminar)
  • Readings in Catholicism in Protestant Europe
  • Religious Conversion and Compulsion (Research Seminar)
  • Readings in Social Discipline in Early Modern Europe
  • Readings in Martyrs and Martyrdom in Reformation Europe
  • Social Discipline in Early Modern Europe (Research Seminar)

Scholarly Publications


  • Global Interactions in the Early Modern Age, 1400-1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010) (Italian edition: Relazioni globali nell'età moderna 1400-1800, Bologna: Società editrice il Mulino, 2012).
  • Faith on the Margins: Catholics and Catholicism in the Dutch Golden Age (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2008). 
  • The Reformation of Community: Social Welfare and Calvinist Charity in Holland, 1572-1620 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, hardcover 1998, paperback 2006).

Journal Articles

  • "In Dialogue with the World: Hugo Grotius' Vision of Global Citizenship and Christian Unity," Journal of Policy History 27 2 (2015): 364-381.
  • "Diseased Bodies, Defiled Souls: Corporality and Religious Difference in the Reformation," Renaissance Quarterly 67 4(2014): 1265-1297.
  • "The Reformation in Global Perspective," History Compass (2014): 1-11.
  • "Converting souls across cultural borders: Dutch Calvinism and early modern missionary enterprises," Journal of Global History, (2013): 50-71. 
  • "Enregister les peches pour favoriser la reconciliation. Les archives des consistoires des Eglise des reformees de Hollande," (trans. Philippe Chareyre) Bulletin de la Societe de l'Histoire du Protestantisme Francais 153-4 (2007): 613-634.
  • "Paying for the Privilege: The Management of Public Order and Religious Pluralism in Two Early Modern Societies," Journal of World History 17 (2006): 267-296.
  • "Two Generations of Discipline: Moral Reform in Delft before and after the Synod of Dort," Archiv fur Reformationsgeschichte 92 (2001): 215-31.
  • "Pilgrims' Progress: Narratives of Penitence and Reconciliation in the Dutch Reformed Church," Journal of Early Modern History 5 (2001): 222-40.
  • "To the Attentive, Non-partisan Reader: The Appeal to History and National Identity in the Religious Disputes of the Seventeenth-Century Netherlands," Sixteenth Century Journal 28 (1997): 57-78.
  • "The Moral Agency and Moral Autonomy of Church Folk in Post-Reformation Delft, 1520-1620," Journal of Ecclesiastical History 48 (1997): 44-70.
  • "Moral Supervision and Poor Relief in the Reformed Church of Delft, 1579-1609," Archiv fur Reformationsgeschichte 87 (1996): 334-61.
  • "Public Church and Household of Faith: Competing Visions of the Church in Post-Reformation Delft, 1572-1617," Journal of Religious History 17 (1993): 418-38.
  • "French Calvinists as the Children of Israel: An Old Testament Self-Consciousness in Jean Crespin's Histoire des martyrs Before the Wars of Religion," Sixteenth Century Journal 24 (1993): 227-48.
  • "Bourges to Geneva: Methodological LInks Between Legal Humanists and Calvinist Reformers," Comitatus 20 (1989): 59-70.

Edited Volumes

  • Religious Diaspora in Early Modern Europe: Strategies of Exile (London: Pickering and Chatto Publishers, 2013). (Co-editor)
  • Between the Middle Ages and Modernity: Individual and Community in the Early Modern World (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007). (Co-editor).
  • With Us Always: A History of Private Charity and Public Welfare (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998). (Co-editor).

Essays in Edited Volumes

  • "Entrepreneurs, Families, and Companies," in Cambridge Companion to World History, vol. 6, pt. 2, The Construction of a Global World, 1400-1800 CE, Jerry H. Bentley, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Merry Wiesner-Hanks eds. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 190-212.
  • "Missionaries as Exiles: Calvinist Strategies of Restoration in Communities under the Dutch East India Company," in Religious Diaspora in Early Modern Europe: Strategies of Exile, Timothy Fehler, Greta Kroeker, Charles Parker, and Jonathan Ray eds. (London: Pickering and Chatto Publishers, 2013), 61-73.
  • "The pillars of a new community.  Conflicts and cooperation over poor relief in post-Reformation Holland, in Serving the Community:  The Rise of Public Facilities in the Low Countries, Martijn van der Burg, Manon van der Heijden, Elise can Nederveen Meerkerk and Griet Vermeesch, eds.  (Amsterdam:  Aksant Press, 2009), pp. 155-167.
  • "Cooperative Confessionalization: Lay-Clerical Collaboration in Dutch
    Catholic Communities during the Golden Age," in Catholic Communities
    in Protestant States, 1580-1720.
    Benjamin Kaplan, Bob Moore, H.F.K.
    van Nierop, and Judith Pollmann eds. Manchester: Manchester
    University Press (2009): 18-32.
  • "Inpartibus Infidelium: Calvinism and Catholic Identity in the Dutch Republic," in John Calvin and Roman Catholicism, Randall Zachman ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2008), 119-144.
  • "Obedience with an Attitude: Laity and Clergy in the Dutch Catholic Church of the Seventeenth Century," in The Low Countries as a Crossroads of Religious Beliefs, Arie-Jan Gelderbloom, Jan L. de Jong, and Marc van Braeck, eds. (Leiden: Brill, 2004), pp. 177-96.
  • "The Rituals of Reconciliation: Admonition, Confession and Community in the Dutch Reformed Church," in Penitence in the Age of Reformations, Katherine Lualdi and Anne Thayer, eds. (St. Andrews: Reformation Studies Institute, 2000), pp. 101-115.
  • "Poor Relief and Community in the Early Dutch Republic," in With Us Always: A History of Private Charity and Public Welfare, eds. Donald T. Critchlow and Charles H. Parker (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998).

Current Graduate Students

  • Steven Malone

Former Graduate Students

  • Joseph De Pung (MA)
  • Thomas Flowers, SJ (MA) "Martin Luther and the Ecclesiology of Reform"
  • Ellen Keao (MA)
  • Michael Kelly (MA)
  • Christopher Lane (MA)
  • Matthew Lary (MA)
  • Patrick O'Banion (PhD) "Negotiating penance: sacramental confession and religious life in early modern Spain"
  • Matthew Spotts (MA) "Conversion, Confessionalism and the German Jesuit Mission"
  • Brian Reeves (PhD), "Bridging the sixteenth- and twentieth-centuries: Roland Bainton as a transitional figure in historical scholarship"
  • Kendra Willey (MA)


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