Angela C. Haas
Ph.D., Binghamton University (2013)
M.A., Binghamton University (2008)
B.A., Ithaca College (2006)
Assistant Professor Missouri Western State University
Miracles in the Press: Religious Authority and Intellectual Autonomy in Enlightenment France
Adviser: Howard G. Brown
Early Modern Europe; French cultural history; Religion and Enlightenment
My research seeks to understand the interplay between religious doctrines, intellectual and cultural shifts, and popular mentalities. My doctoral dissertation explores widespread participation in and responses to publicized miracles. By examining both learned treatises, and widely distributed texts and images, I show how individuals actively engineered their religious beliefs as they weighed their trust of others against their own ability to judge empirical and textual evidence independently. Scholars have typically situated shifts in religious belief and devotion during the eighteenth century within the context of popular "dechristianization" or Enlightenment philosophical rationalism. By contrast, my research shifts the discussion over religious skepticism into the realm of public judgment and social interactions. I argue that religious controversy relayed through printed media generated both distrust in historical, social, and institutional authority, and self-confidence in judging religious doctrines independently. These reciprocal developments compelled individuals to restructure their religious beliefs to reflect their own perceptions of legitimate evidence, reliable witnesses, and trustworthy authority. My dissertation begins in the 1690s, when the public debunking of various miracles and relics contributed to a growing distrust of Church historians and clerics. Subsequent chapters examine the competition between medical and divine sources of healing, and the ways in which particular debates over miracles affected the religious beliefs of French people—ranging from philosophes, to clerics, to day laborers. The dissertation concludes during the French Revolution, when miracles were represented not as symbols of God's divine favor, but as proof clerical treachery.
Grants, Fellowships & Awards
Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, 2012-2013.
Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Teaching, Graduate School, Binghamton University, 2011.
CEMERS Graduate Assistantship, Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Binghamton University, 2011-2012.
Graduate Student Teaching Assistantship, History Department, Binghamton University, 2006-2011.
Dissertation Research Travel Grant, Aldo and Reta Bernardo Fund, Binghamton University, 2011.
Joan S. Dubofsky Doctoral Research Grant, History Department, Binghamton University, 2011.
Rosa Colecchio Travel Award for Dissertation Research, Graduate School, Binghamton University, 2011.
Binghamton University Foundation Travel Grant, Graduate School, Binghamton University, 2010.
Dissertation-Year Fellowship, History Department, Binghamton University, 2009.
Kramer Research Grant in History, History Department, Binghamton University, 2009.
Language Study Grant, History Department, Binghamton University, 2008.
58th Annual Meeting of the Society for French Historical Studies. Los Angeles, CA. March 22-24, 2012. "'Justice, Enlightenment, and Liberty Have Worked Miracles': Religious Belief and Republican Ideology in the French Revolution."
The Annual CEMERS Lecture Series. Binghamton University. Binghamton, NY. February 29, 2012. "Miraculous Evidence and Historical Negligence: Preserving the Cult of Relics in Eighteenth-Century France."
57th Annual Meeting of the Society for French Historical Studies. Charleston, SC. February 10-12, 2011. "Diagnosing the Supernatural: Miracles and Medical Discourse in Enlightenment France."
Medieval and Early Modern Society Research Workshop. Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY. April 26, 2011. "Miracles in the Enlightenment: The Struggle against the Prétendus Esprits Forts."
38th Annual Meeting of the Western Society for French History. Lafayette, LA. October 21-23, 2010. "Miracles on Trial: Wonders and Their Witnesses in Early Modern France."
Symposium on European Archival Research. Binghamton University. Binghamton, NY. December 3, 2010. "Paleography and Research Strategies in French Archives."
60th Annual New York State Association of European Historians Conference. Siena College, Loudonville, NY. September 24-25, 2010. "The Search for Faithful Witnesses: The Crisis of Miracles in Eighteenth- Century France."
2nd Annual Religious Studies Roundtable Graduate Student Conference. Belief Matters: Religion and the Mind. The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. October 2-3, 2009. "The Appeal of Reason: Belief, Persuasion, and the Miraculous in France, 1728-1750."