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Seth Meehan

ph.d. candidate

Email: meehanse@bc.edu

Dissertation Title: “Denominating a People: Congregational Laity, Church Disestablishment, and Religious Liberty in Massachusetts, 1780-1850”

Dissertation Committee: James O'Toole (advisor), Cynthia Lyerly, Owen Stanwood


Educational Background:

BA, Theology, Georgetown University
MA, History, Boston College


Research Interests

I study the religious environment in nineteenth-century Massachusetts created by disestablishment—the removal of the legal provisions that provided tax-funded support to certain “established” churches. I base my dissertation on an extensive review of local church records in Barnstable and Berkshire counties in order to uncover the changing lived religious experiences for the Congregational laity during and after the period of establishment. My project explores how Congregationalists maintained an optimism of what they could and should achieve as civic leaders and God’s chosen people by using public laws and voluntary private organizations to Christianize their communities. 


Publications

  • “A College of Ours”: The Illustrated History of Boston College, 1863-2013 (Chestnut Hill, Mass: Linden Lane Press, forthcoming)
  • “Portugal, Jesuits, and Japan: Spiritual Beliefs and Earthly Goods,” (review) in Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu (Rome, Italy: Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, forthcoming)
  • “Work & Days: First Graduates,” Boston College Magazine, Summer 2013 (forthcoming)
  • “Snapshot: Diploma,” Boston College Magazine, Spring 2013 (forthcoming)
  • “First Sight,” (feature, cover story), Boston College Magazine, Winter 2013
  • “Heroic Study,” (prologue) Boston College Magazine, Winter 2013
  • “Catholics and Contraception: Boston, 1965,” (Campaign Stops) New York Times, March 15, 2012
  • “100th Revisited,” Boston College Magazine, Spring 2012
  • "Legal Aid," (feature) in Boston College Magazine, Spring 2011
  • “From Patriotism to Pluralism: How Catholics Initiated the Repeal of Birth Control Restrictions in Massachusetts,” in The Catholic Historical Review, 96.3 (July 2010): 470-498
  • "Tales from the Dustbowl," in Boston College Magazine, Fall 2010
  • "Six Conflicts, Seven Alumni," Boston College Magazine, Summer 2009
     

Awards, Fellowships, and Grants

  • 2011-present, Clough Center Graduate Fellow, Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy, Boston College
  • 2011-12 Dissertation Fellowship, Boston College, History Department
  • 2011 Peter Guilday Prize, American Catholic Historical Association
  • 2011 Graduate Summer Research Stipend, Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy, Boston College
  • 2011 Graduate Summer Research Stipend, Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy, Boston College
  • 2010 Summer Dissertation Fellowship, Boston College, History Department


Professional Experience

January 2013–Present: Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy, Boston College

  • Coordinator of the Clough Graduate Fellow Program

September 2008 to Present: History Department, Boston College Course development and teaching assistant

  • Course development and teaching assistant, American Immigration II (From 1865), with Professor Kevin Kenny, Spring 2011
  • Course development and teaching assistant, American Immigration I (To 1865), with Professor Kevin Kenny, Fall 2010
  • Course development and teaching assistant, American Immigration II (From 1865), with Professor Kevin Kenny Spring 2010
  • Teaching Assistant, Europe in the World I, with Professor John Rosser, Fall 2009
  • Teaching Assistant, Transatlantic Modernity II, with Professor Kevin O’Neill, Spring 2009
  • Teaching Assistant, Transatlantic Modernity I, with Professor Stephen Schloesser, Fall 2008

May 2008 to Present: Office of Marketing Communications, Boston College Researcher and editor for an illustrated history of Boston College (to be published 2013, Linden Lane Press) as well as researcher for other publications including Transforming Light (2009) and the Boston College Magazine.

September 2007 to May 2008: Center for Irish Programs, Boston College Graduate research assistant for the program’s executive director, Prof. Thomas Hachey

 
Conference Work

  • Organizer, Emancipation at 150 (academic symposium), sponsored by the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy, Boston College, April 23, 2013
  • Presenter, “Disestablishment and Division: Congregational Church Architecture in Massachusetts, 1780-1855,” American Society for Church History, April 4-7, 2013
  • Presenter, “Temperance or Abolitionism: Congregational Moral Reform in the Disestablishment Era,” Conference on Faith and History, October 4-6, 2012
  • Chair/Commentator, “ABCFM Missions in the Early Nineteenth Century and American Evangelical Identity,” Biennial Boston College Conference on the History of Religion, March 2012
  • Organizer, Biennial Boston College Conference on the History of Religion, March 2012
  • Organizer, Biennial Boston College Conference on the History of Religion, March 2010
  • Presenter, “From Patriotism to Pluralism: How Catholics Initiated the Repeal of Birth Control Restrictions in Massachusetts,” New England Historical Association, Fall Conference, 2008