Puff Memorial Lecture

Monumental sculpture of Christ overlooking Rio de Janeiro

The Edward A. Puff Sr. and Edith Kottmyer Puff Memorial Lecture in the Study of Christianity was endowed in 1986 by Rev. Edward A. Puff Jr., of Dayton, and his brother, Harold F. Puff, emeritus professor of management at Miami University. The memorial lecture is named for Edward and Harold's parents, in gratitude for the sacrifices they made that enabled the brothers to attend Miami during the Depression years.

This annual lecture is free and open to the public.

2018-2019 speaker

Matthew Avery SuttonMatthew Avery Sutton
Washington State University
"Evangelicals, the End Times, and the Religious Right in Modern America"

April 29, 2019 (Monday)
4:00 p.m.
100 Art Building


Feeling besieged by secularism, family breakdown, and government encroachment, American evangelical Christians took to the pulpit and airwaves in the second half of the 20th century to explain how biblical prophesies about the end times made sense of a ravaged modern world. By the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan and conservative Republicans reached out to evangelicals, and together they built the Religious Right. In the 2016 presidential election, no group supported President Trump more enthusiastically than white evangelicals. Dr. Sutton's talk helps explain why.

Dr. Sutton is Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professor of History at Washington State University. His books include American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism and Jerry Falwell and the Rise of the Religious Right.

Past speakers

2017-2018

Charles Mathewes
University of Virginia
"American Christianity After the Religious Right"

2016-2017

Sylvester Johnson
Northwestern University
"American Religion and National Security: Race, Religion, and the Security State"

2015-2016

Paula M. Kane
University of Pittsburgh
"Medieval Manhattan: An Antidote to the Jazz Age"

2014-2015

Katharine Wilkinson
Director of Strategy and Activation, BrightHouse LLC
"Between God & Green: How Evangelicals are Cultivating a Middle Ground on Climate Change"

2013-2014

Timothy Matovina
University of Notre Dame
"Latinos and the Transformation of American Catholicism"

2012-2013

Jehu J. Hancile
Emory University
"The Promise of God: New African Immigrants and Transformations in the American Religious Landscape"

2011-2012

Daniel Buxhoeveden
University of South Carolina
"Christianity and Science in Dialogue"

2009-2010

Amy DeRogatis
Michigan State University
"Saving Sex: Sexuality and Salvation in American Evangelicalism"

2008-2009

Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis
Theological advisor to the Ecumenical Patriarch
"Beauty Will Save the World: Spiritual Insights into an Ecological Worldview"

2007-2008

David L. Holmes
College of William and Mary
"The Religion of the Founding Fathers"

2006-2007

Gabriel Moran
New York University
"Religious Diversity: Christians and Muslims in a Common World"

2005-2006

Peter J. Thuesen
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
"The Idea of Predestination in American Religious History"

2004-2005

R. Marie Griffith
Princeton University
"Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity"

2003-2004

David Morgan
Valparaiso University
"The Visual Culture of American Piety: Absent Fathers and Women with Beards"

2002-2003

Charles H. Lippy
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
"Challenges to Christianity in the Twenty-First Century"

2001-2002

Daniel Sack
Associated Colleges of the Midwest
"Eating at the Table of the Gods"

2000-2001

Catherine Brekus
University of Chicago
"Sarah Osborn’s World: Popular Christianity in 18th-Century America"

1998-1999

Anne C. Rose
Penn State University

1996-1997

Felicitas D. Goodman
Denison University

1995-1996

Stephen A. Marini
Wellesley College
"Sacred Song in Contemporary America"

1994-1995

Robert Orsi
Indiana University
"Hopeless Cases: The Women Who Prayed to St. Jude, 1929-1965"

1993-1994

Randall Balmer
Barnard College
"Thy Kingdom Come: Apocalypticism in American Culture"

1992-1993

John W. Cook
Henry Luce Foundation
"Varieties of Christian Sacred Space"

1991-1992

Sandra Zimdars-Swartz
University of Kansas
"Encounters with the Virgin Mary: Issues of Personal Religious Experience"

1990-1991

Mary Jo Weaver
Indiana University
"Being Right: Roman Catholic Fundamentalism"

1988-1989

Albert J. Raboteau
Princeton University
"A Hidden Wholeness: Thomas Merton and Martin Luther King, Jr."

1987-1988

Samuel S. Hill, Jr.
University of Florida
"Is Black Religion Evangelical?"

1986-1987

Charles Curran
Catholic University of America/Southern Methodist University
"The Social Mission of the Church in Contemporary America"

Photo credit

Rio de Janeiro Helicoptero 47 Feb 2006.jpg by Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz, from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY 3.0; cropped from original and color saturation increased.