James B. LaGrand
Director of the College Honors Program and Professor of American History
Modern American Political and Social History, Urban History, Public History, Native American History
Office: 151 Boyer Hall
Phone: 717-766-2511 x 7381
- Ph.D., U.S. History, Indiana University, 1997
- M.A., U.S. History, Indiana University, 1992
- B.A., History, Calvin College, 1990
James B. LaGrand is a historian of modern America. He teaches a wide range of courses on American history since the mid-nineteenth century, and his research and writing focuses on the intertwining of political and social history during this time. He serves as a referee, editorial reviewer, and consultant for journals, scholarly presses, and textbooks. Before moving to Pennsylvania to teach at Messiah College in 1997, he lived in Boston; Ottawa, Canada; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Bloomington, Indiana. He and his wife, Betsy, and their three children live in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
- HIST 142: U.S. History, 1865-present syllabus
- HIST 151: "The Wild, Wild West": Battles Over the American West and the Western Image syllabus
- HIST 154: Vietnam War America syllabus
- HIST 258: Historical Methods (History sophomore seminar) syllabus
- HIST 346: U.S. History, 1890-1945 syllabus
- HIST 347: U.S. History, 1945-present syllabus
- HIST 351: Native American History syllabus
- HIST 352: African-American History since 1865 syllabus
- HIST 355: U.S. Urban History syllabus
- HIST 393: Public History syllabus
- HIST 399: Nationalism and its Discontents in Modern America syllabus
- HIST 401: Historiography and the Philosophy of History (History senior seminar) syllabus
- HONR 497: My Country, Right or Wrong? America and its Critics (honors senior seminar) syllabus
- IDCR 151: Created and Called for Community (first-year core course) syllabus
- IDWV 300: The Wages of Sin is Death: Breaking Bad as the New American Tragedy syllabus
- Indian Metropolis: Native Americans in Chicago, 1945-75. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2002. Paperback edition: 2005.
- “A New History Museum Tries to Get Religion,”The Cresset Vol. 80, No. 5 (Trinity 2017): 20-27.
- “The Problems of Preaching through History.” In Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian’s Vocation, edited by John Fea, Jay Green, and Eric Miller. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010. pp. 187-213.
- “Indian Work and Indian Neighborhoods: Adjusting to Life in Chicago during the 1950s.” In Enduring Nations: Native Americans in the Midwest, edited by R. David Edmunds. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2008.
- “Urban Indians in the U.S. and Indian Identity: An Examination of Chicago from the 1940s through the 1970s.” In Not Strangers In These Parts: Urban Aboriginal Peoples, edited by David Newhouse and Evelyn Peters. Ottawa: Policy Research Initiative, 2003. Translated and published in French as “L’identité amérindienne urbaine dans une grande ville des États-Unis: Le Cas de Chicago des Années 1950 aux années 1970.” In Des Gens D’ici: Les Autochtones en Milieu Urbain.
- “What’s Religion Good For? Progressives Weigh In,” Public Discourse (November 7, 2016).
- “1963’s ‘Hud’ Shows Why Donald Trump Isn’t A Real Man,” The Federalist (March 15, 2016).
- “Bob Dylan’s Benediction For Today’s Graduates,” The Federalist (May 19, 2014).
- “Breaking Bad for Christians: A Morally Ordered Show,” Patheos (October 15, 2012).
- “Bach’s Bible and Ours,” Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture, Baylor University, October 2017.
- “Insiders and Outsiders in American Indian History,” American Society for Ethnohistory annual meeting, Nashville TN, November 2016.
- “Revisiting Harrisburg’s City Beautiful Movement amid the Digital Turn,” Pennsylvania Historical Association annual meeting, Grantville PA, October 2015.
- “The War on Poverty at 50,” Harrisburg Rotary Club, February 2014.
- “Martin Luther King’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ Across the Generations,” Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC) annual conference, Ottawa, Canada, April 2013.
- “The Promise and Problems of Progressivism in Industrial America,” Center for Vision and Values Lecture Series, Grove City College, March 2012.
- “Protestant-Inspired Reform in the City: The Search for Solidarity and Connection,” Conference on Faith and History biennial meeting, George Fox University, October 2010.
James is currently working on a project entitled “Reform in the American Grain: The Idea of the Nation in Modern Social Movements” which explores the role played by American nationalism and national identity in various social movements--including the labor movement, anti-war movements, the civil rights movement, and the New Left and New Right. A second project focuses on the progressive movement from early-twentieth-century America and the ways in which its themes of connection, solidarity, and moral reform continue to be heard in contemporary social, political, and religious life.