AHA Member Spotlight: Angela Lahr

AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, AHA Today features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.

Angela Lahr is an assistant professor of history at Westminster College (PA). She lives in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, and has been a member since 2002.

Lahr_PhotoAlma maters: BA, University of Evansville, 1998; PhD, Northern Illinois University, 2005

Fields of interest: US religious history, 20th-century US history, Cold War history, women’s history

When did you first develop an interest in history?
My reading teacher in third or fourth grade required us to read a different kind of book every month. I attended a rural public school with a small library, but it did have an old collection of historical biographies for children. I chose one for “history month” and was hooked. I devoured the rest of the series.

What projects are you currently working on?
One project examines conscience and religion in the political culture of the United States by investigating the lives and work of select American women reformers in the 19th and 20th centuries. I have also been researching political discussions and debates within American faith communities in the 1960s and 1970s.

Have your interests evolved since graduation? If so, how?
My fascination with the complex intersections of belief and power have continued to drive my interests, but while my dissertation analyzed evangelical eschatological beliefs in the context of the Cold War, my most recent project takes a more biographical approach, engages the impressive literature of women’s history, and expands my previous chronological focus.

What do you value most about the history profession?
I value the work of passionate historians committed to making the past engaging.

Why have you continued to be a member of the AHA?
The AHA encourages effective scholarship and teaching. It publishes a top-notch journal and provides opportunities for members to connect. At a time when the value of history and the liberal arts are sometimes questioned, the organization has been an advocate for the study of the past and has led the way in fostering conversations about the responsible adaptation of the discipline to present-day challenges.

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