Luther Professor Christman named to new Hanson Professorship in History

Robert Christman, Luther College associate professor of history, was named the inaugural Kermit O. and Jane E. Hanson Professor in History at Luther's Spring Convocation Jan. 31.

"We chose Robert because of his excellence as a teacher and scholar of history. We are excited to see what he brings to this new academic position," said Kevin Kraus, Luther vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college.

The professorship is a three-year award to a member of the Luther faculty who honors the values and importance of the subject of history. It is named in honor of Kermit O. Hanson, Luther class of 1938, and Jane E. Hanson, Luther class of 1939, whose support for the college included an endowment gift to establish the Hanson Professorship. The gift recognizes the value of educational opportunities and the quality of the academic program provided by Luther and honors dedicated history faculty as the Hansons felt deeply influenced by history professors while they were at Luther. 

A member of the Luther faculty since 2005, Christman teaches courses in German reformation, Rome and late Medieval and early modern Europe. He holds a bachelor's degree from Boston University, and a master's degree and Ph.D. in early modern Germany and the Reformation from the University of Arizona.

"I was drawn to the early modern period of European history because it is the crucible in which the modern world was forged," Christman said. "Pluralism, toleration, capitalism, globalism, self-determination and freedom of conscience all have their roots in this period.  Watching students come to the realization that their world is the product of historical forces unleashed centuries ago is a great thrill. It allows them to better understand their world and, in turn, work to transform those aspects of it that require change."

Christman's book "Doctrinal Controversy and Lay Religiosity in Late Reformation Germany" was published in 2011. He has also published several articles on the impact of the Reformation in early modern Germany.

Robert Christman, associate professor of history