The Presidential Colloquium series at Hope College will conclude the first half of its exploration of the Protestant Reformation with the address “Dangerous Choices: Women, Clerics and Marriage in the German Reformation” by Dr. Marjorie Elizabeth (Beth) Plummer of Western Kentucky University on Monday, April 10, at 4 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall.
The public is invited. Admission is free.
The Protestant Reformation was sparked when Martin Luther delivered his 95 theses to the Archbishop of Mainz on Oct. 31, 1517. Hope is marking the Reformation’s 500th anniversary with multiple presentations in the spring and fall that are exploring ways that the Reformation has shaped the world throughout history as well as its significance for Holland. Organized or coordinated through the college’s Presidential Colloquium series, the Hope events are presented within the theme “The Reformation and the Making of the Modern World.”
Plummer is a professor in the History Department at Western Kentucky University. She specializes in the history of the impact of the early reform movement in Germany on family and gender roles and the changing legal definitions of social norms and religious identity in Early Modern Germany.
Her publications include “From Priest’s Whore to Pastor’s Wife: Clerical Marriage and the Process of Reform in the Early German Reformation” (2012), which won the 2013 SCSC Gerald Strauss Book Prize. She is also co-editor of “Ideas and Cultural Margins in Early Modern Germany: Essays in Honor of H.C. Erik Midelfort” (2009) and “Archaeologies of Confession: Writing the German Reformation, 1517-2017” (2017).
She has written articles on monastic marriage, concubinage, bigamy, historical memory and imprisoned early reformers, the Electors of Saxony and Martin Luther, and Protestant nuns. Currently a Solmsen Fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin, she is working on “Building Walls and Sharing Space: The Protestant Nun, Religious Diversity and Pluriconfessional Convents in the Holy Roman Empire, 1520–1750,” a book-length study on the experience of nuns during long Reformation.
The Reformation-themed events at Hope during the current spring semester are running March 29-April 10, and include a concert by the Grand Rapids Symphony and three addresses. The fall-semester events have not been finalized, but are anticipated to include panel discussions exploring the experience of local communities and residents.
The Presidential Colloquium, initiated by President John C. Knapp, is a recurring lecture series that brings prominent thinkers to Hope to share their insights on the academy, leadership and global civic engagement. Speakers since the series debuted in September 2013 have included Dr. Richard Carwardine, who is an internationally recognized expert on Abraham Lincoln and president of Corpus Christi College of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom; Professor H. Russel Botman, rector and vice-chancellor of Stellenbosch University; Scott Aughenbaugh, who is a deputy director of Strategic Futures at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); and David Brooks, New York Times columnist and best-selling author.
More information the series is available online at hope.edu/offices/president/presidential-colloquium.html. Details regarding the fall events will be posted nearer the beginning of the college’s fall semester.
Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets.