Jesse Spohnholz, Director
Professor of History
Wilson-Short Hall 310
Prof. Spohnholz is on research leave 2019-20.
Ph.D., University of Iowa, 2004
M.Litt., Reformation Studies Institute, University of St. Andrews, 1999
B.A., Reed College, 1996
Academic & Professional Interests
Spohnholz’s research focuses on social practices of toleration in Reformation-era Germany and the Netherlands, experiences of religious refugees during Europe’s Age of Religious Wars, and historical memory of the Reformation. His first book, The Tactics of Toleration, explores the daily tactics of peaceful coexistence along the Dutch/German border during Europe’s Age of Religious Wars. His second book, The Convent of Wesel: The Event that Never Happened and the Invention of Tradition, solves a 450-year-old mystery and examines historical memory of the Reformation in the Netherlands and northwest Germany from the sixteenth to the twentieth-first century. He also leads a research project with Mirjam van Veen, professor of church history at the Vrije Universiteit Amstedam, that explores the impact of sixteenth-century Dutch religious exiles living in Germany on the religious landscape of the Dutch Republic starting in 1572. The project, Rhineland Exiles and the Religious Landscape of the Dutch Republic, c.1500-1618, is funded by the Dutch National Organization for Scientific Research.
Dr. Spohnholz teaches courses on the Renaissance and Reformation; European social, cultural, and religious history (1450–1750); historiography; thematic courses on religion, family, and gender in early modern Europe; and The Roots of Contemporary Issues.
Selected Honors & Awards
2018 Albert C. Outler Prize, awarded by the American Society of Church, for best ecumenical church history monograph, biography, critical edition or bibliography published in the two previous years.
2018 DAAD/GSA Book Prize, awarded by the German Academic Exchange Service and the German Studies Association for the best book in German history published in the previous two years.
2017 University Distinguished Teaching Fellowship. Washington State University.
2017 William F. Mullen Memorial Teaching Award. College of Arts and Sciences. Washington State University.
2015–2021 Research Grant from Dutch National Organization for Scientific Research (€750.000)
2013–2014 Scholar in Residence, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
2012 Gerald Strauss Book Prize in Reformation History, awarded by the Sixteenth Century Society
2011 Thesis Advisor of the Year, Honors College, Washington State University
2011 Eric W. Bell Learning Communities Excellence in Teaching Award, University College, Washington State University
2009 Harold J. Grimm Prize for the best journal article in Reformation studies, awarded by the Sixteenth Century Society
2005 Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize, awarded by the German Historical Institute
The Tactics of Toleration: A Refugee Community in the Age of Religious Wars (Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, 2011).
With Gary K. Waite, Exile and Religious Identity, 1500–1800 (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2014).
The Convent of Wesel: The Event That Never Was and the Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017).
“Exile Experiences and the Transformations of Religious Cultures in the Sixteenth Century: Kleve, England, East Friesland, and the Palatinate.” Journal of Early Modern Christianity, 6, no. 1 (2019): 43–67.
“Social Fiction and Diversity in Post-Reformation Germany.” Bulletin of the German Historical Institute 61 (Fall 2017): 1–17.
With Mirjam G. K. van Veen, “The Disputed Origins of Dutch Calvinism: Religious Refugees in the Historiography of the Dutch Reformation.” Church History 86, no. 2 (2017): 1–29.
“Invented Memories: The ‘Convent of Wesel’ and the Origins of German and Dutch Calvinism.” In Archeologies of Confession: Writing Histories of Religion in Germany, 1517–2017, edited by Carina Johnson, David M. Luebke, Marjorie E. Plummer, and Jesse Spohnholz, 284–303. New York: Berghahn, 2017.
“Archiving and Narration in Post-Reformation Germany and the Netherlands.” Past and Present 230, suppl. 11 (2016), 330–48.
“Religious Diversity during Europe’s Age of Religious Wars (1550–1650),” in The Blackwell Companion to Religious Diversity, edited by Kevin Schilbrack (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming).
With Mirjam G. K. van Veen. “Calvinists vs. Libertines: A New Look at Religious Exile and the Origins of ‘Dutch’ Tolerance.” In Calvinism and the Making of the European Mind, edited by Gijsbert van den Brink and Harro M. Höpfl (Leiden: Brill, 2014).
“Instability and Insecurity: Dutch Women Religious Refugees in Germany and England, 1550‒1600.” In Exile and Religious Identity, 1500‒1800, edited by Jesse Spohnholz and Gary Waite (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2014).
“Toleration.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Renaissance and Reformation, edited by Margaret King (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).
“Calvinism and Religious Exile during the Revolt of the Netherlands (1568–1609).” Immigrants and Minorities (2013): 1‒27.
“Confessional Coexistence in the Early Modern Low Countries,” in A Companion to Multiconfessionalism in the Early Modern World, edited by Thomas Max Safley (Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2011).
“Turning Dutch? Conversion in Early Modern Wesel,” in Conversion and the Politics of Religion in Early Modern Germany, edited by David M. Luebke, Jared Poley, Daniel Ryan, and David Warren Sabean (Providence: Berghahn Books, 2011).
“Multiconfessional Celebration of the Eucharist in Sixteenth-Century Wesel,” Sixteenth Century Journal 39, no. 3 (2008).
“Olympias and Chrysostom: The Debate over Wesel’s Reformed Deaconesses, 1568–1609,” Archive for Reformation History/Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 98 (2007).
“Strangers and Neighbors: The Tactics of Toleration in the Dutch Exile Community of Wesel, 1550–1590,” Bulletin of the German Historical Institute 38 (2006).
“Overlevend non-conformisme: Anabaptistische tradities en hun regulering in laat zestiende-eeuws Wezel.” Doopsgezinde Bijdragen 29 (2003).