Professor of History Sheila Nowinski explores clerical celibacy with AHA presentation

GREENVILLE, Pa.—Thiel College Assistant Professor of History Sheila Nowinski, Ph.D., attended the American Historical Association’s annual meeting in Denver, Colo., from Jan. 5-8. Nowinski presented the paper “Clerical Celibacy in the Era of the Sexual Revolution” as part of a panel on French Catholic history.

The paper examines debates about priestly marriage in the French Catholic Church in the 1960s and 1970s, in light of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Nowinski considers how the model of the priesthood changed during the twentieth century. The project built on her previous research on lay Catholic activists in 20th century France.

“When people think of religious history, medieval Europe or the Reformation might be first to come to mind,” Nowinski said. “But the history of religious institutions can shed light on processes of social and cultural change—where there is conflict, embrace or ambivalence.”

Nowinski was also selected to participate in the meeting’s Undergraduate Teaching Workshop. In addition, she attended sessions on Christianity in the era of the world wars, teaching Islamic history, and using digital history tools in the classroom.

“I participated in a workshop with professors from around the country in which we evaluated each other’s assignments,” Nowinski said. “It was very useful to hear how other instructors approach their courses and particular challenges of the college classroom. I also learned about some new digital history tools that allow students to present research in interactive timelines or maps. I would like to incorporate some of these tools in an upcoming course.”

The American Historical Association is the largest professional organization serving historians in all fields and all professions.

Nowiski received her Ph.D. (2012) and M.A. (2008) in history from the University of Notre Dame. She also studied at Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium in 2003 after getting her B.A. from Boston College. She began teaching at Thiel College in 2015.

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Thiel College is an independent college founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 24 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. The College is also home to a new Master of Science in speech-language pathology and 2Master of Business Administration. Both master’s degree programs offer innovative and accelerated five-year paths which allow students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. The speech-language pathology program also has an accelerated 15-month graduate-level program. The M.B.A. program also has a 12-month post-graduate program.A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College remains committed to combining tradition with innovation as it celebrates 150 years.