Director Emerita Susan C. Karant-Nunn

Susan C. Karant-Nunn

Susan C. Karant-Nunn

Susan C. Karant-Nunn became director of the Division for Late Medieval and Reformation Studies in 2001 upon the death of Regents’ Professor Heiko A. Oberman, the founder of the Division.  Until 1999, she had been a professor of history at Portland State University.  At the University of Arizona, she wrote books and articles, taught and supervised undergraduate and graduate students, and also, with the help of Luise Betterton and Sandra Kimball, raised over $2 million to endow the Heiko A. Oberman Chair in Late Medieval and Reformation History. This chair was completed in 2010. In 2016, the Division received a gift of $1 million for another endowed chair which the anonymous donor named the Susan C. Karant-Nunn Chair in Reformation and Early Modern European History.

Susan Karant-Nunn’s work is concentrated in Reformation history.  Her first two books, Luther’s Pastors: The Reformation in the Ernestine Countryside (American Philosophical Society, 1979), and Zwickau in Transition, 1500-1547: The Reformation as an Agent of Change (Ohio State University, 1987) were focused on Saxony, the heartland of the Reformation.  She carried out the research in the German Democratic Republic.  These two books are exemplary works of social history.  Karant-Nunn has gone on to write two works of cultural history that examine the German Reformation from innovative viewpoints: The Reformation of Ritual: An Interpretation of Early Modern Germany (Routledge, 1997), which won the Roland H. Bainton Book Prize in History and Theology; and The Reformation of Feeling: Shaping the Religious Emotions in Early Modern Germany (Oxford, 2010).  Her most recent book-length study is entitled The Personal Luther: Essays on the Reformer from a Cultural Historical Perspective (Leiden 2017).

Susan Karant-Nunn has edited and co-edited six additional volumes, the most recent in 2009, Reformation Research in Europe and North America: A Historical Assessment, Vol. 100 of the Archive for Reformation History, coedited with Anne Jacobson Schutte and Heinz Schilling.  In 2008, Scott H. Hendrix and her Masculinity in the Reformation Era (Truman State University) appeared.  She has published innumerable articles and book chapters, ranging in their subjects from the emergence of the pastoral family in Reformation Germany, to ghost stories and their rejection in the later sixteenth century. During 2011-2012 alone her guest lectureships will take her to the University of Perth, Australia; the Newberry Library, Chicago; Neuchâtel, Switzerland; and Eisenach and Berlin, Germany.

Between 1998 and 2010, she and Anne Jacobson Schutte served as North American Managing Co-editors of the Archive for Reformation History, the leading journal in Reformation studies.  Among her numerous honors, she was a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow in 2003-2004; in 2008 she was named one of the first three Earl H. Carroll Fellows of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona, that college’s highest award for scholarly distinction; and in 2009 she was made a Regents’ Professor, a category made up of the top 3% of University of Arizona faculty.

Karant-Nunn’s books have influenced the field of Reformation history—so much so that a leading French early modernist, Professor Bernard Roussel of the Sorbonne, in 1997 entitled a plenary lecture:  “A la manière de Susan Karant-Nunn:  réflexions sur la réforme du rituel dans l’espace francophone” [“In the Manner of Susan Karant-Nunn:  Reflections on the Reformation of Ritual in the Francophone Lands”].

Adapted from "Susan C. Karant-Nunn appointed Regents Professor of History," Desert Harvest Vol. 17, No. 1, April 2009, p. 3