The Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals (ISAE) at Wheaton College Announces Research and Dissertation Grants for Projects Dealing With the Diversity of American Evangelicalism

The Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals (ISAE) at Wheaton College is pleased to announce a new round of modest grants aimed at supporting research into the growing ethnic and racial diversity that characterizes contemporary American evangelicalism. Funded by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, and building upon an earlier ISAE conference on “The Changing Face of American Evangelicalism,” this initiative seeks to come alongside those currently engaged in research on evangelical ethnic and racial communities and their relationship to both the larger American culture and its evangelical subculture. The grants are intended to assist researchers actively engaged in current projects during the upcoming summer of 2014 and for the 2014-2015 academic year.

American evangelicalism is routinely portrayed in media accounts as a “white” movement and subculture often assumed to be synonymous with conservative religious, cultural, and political constituencies from long-established “old stock” Western and Northern European immigrant groups. This sort of conception ignores the very real diversity within a subculture that, from its origins, contained a large African-American cohort, and a rich lineage of Latino and various Asian evangelical groups began to take root during the 19th-century. This diversity has only deepened and expanded in the wake of mid-1960s immigration reform as an influx of immigrants from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and South and East Asia have created a whole new network of denominations and churches as well as strengthening the older evangelical groups. While there has been a great deal of research and writing about evangelicalism in recent years, this particular dimension of the movement has been understudied even as it grows in size and importance.

Possible areas of study that could qualify for assistance under this initiative could include–but are by no means limited to–studies of particular immigrant denominations or congregations; integral networks within evangelical ethnic communities; theological education; ethnic populations at evangelical seminaries; ethnic minorities and campus and other evangelical parachurch organizations; utilization of media and technology; political views and mobilization within evangelical ethnic constituencies; youth culture; relationships to established “old-stock” evangelical denominations; relationships between evangelical ethnic communities; gender roles and issues; economic mobility and evangelical immigrants; evangelistic and educational relationships with “home;” studies of key figures within evangelical immigrant groups; adaptations to the American cultural and religious context; immigrant evangelical churches and the American “Culture Wars;” music and worship, and many more.

As the above list of possible topics implies, the purview of this grant opportunity is not limited to any one academic discipline. While the ISAE’s focus has traditionally been historical, these grants are intended to encourage good work that advances our understanding of the scope and shape of contemporary evangelicalism—applications from scholars in disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, missiology, religious studies, and others are welcome. The ISAE intends to fund a total of five (5) $1,000 research grants targeting young and established faculty and independent scholars, as well as five (5) $2,000 fellowships for doctoral students currently engaged in researching and writing their dissertation. Applicants are required to submit a completed application form available here, as well as an up-to-date vita. Faculty applicants are asked to send along a letter from your department chair or dean verifying the nature of your current work; doctoral students are asked to accompany their materials with a letter from their dissertation advisor correlating the relevance of their application to their dissertation topic. Quality and strength of topic are, of course, the most important criteria that are sought, but consideration will be given to the potential travel and financial needs of the applicant. The deadline for completed materials is April 30th; the grant review process is expected to be completed by the end of May, with payments made shortly thereafter. Send all materials as attachments to isae@wheaton.edu, or mail to: ISAE, Wheaton College, 501 E. College Avenue, Wheaton, IL 60187. Questions? Email the ISAE or tel. 630-752-5437.