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Sullivan publishes new book honoring mentor

Dr. Regina Sullivan recently released “Varieties of Southern Religious History,” which she co-edited.

(June 30, 2015)—Carson­-Newman University’s Dean of Global Education Dr. Regina Sullivan has released a new book, “Varieties of Southern Religious History.” It was published by The University of South Carolina Press in May.

Sullivan co­-edited the festschrift, which features essays written by students of Southern Religion Historian Donald G. Mathews, with former colleague Monte Hampton. A festschrift is a volume of essays curated to celebrate a colleague.

“Varieties of Southern Religious History” weaves together religious history, women’s history and African American history in the South. Sullivan says one thing people can take away from the book is the wide variety of ways religious history is approached in the South due to his influence.

“I think what you would see here is that it’s not one particular story of religion in the South, but it’s many different stories,” Sullivan says. “There wouldn’t have been a civil rights movement in this country if it wasn’t for religion in the South. The civil rights movement was centered in African American churches. So there’s a way in which religion is not simply important to the South, but in terms of what it has brought to the entire nation.”

Sullivan came up with the idea of writing the book in 2008 after Mathews suffered serious complications during heart surgery. She says preserving his perspective in a lasting way was a labor of love.

“Writing the introduction really allowed me to combine my interest in the history of theology with religious history,” Sullivan says. “That’s what Dr. Matthews has always done, combining his interest in understanding of theology with how people live their lives. He was really the first person to do that. Monte and I got to combine these two interests when we were talking about what influenced his life to become the sort of historian he is today.”

Sullivan’s accomplishments as a historian earned her a spot on the executive board of the St. George Tucker Society, and interdisciplinary scholarly organization dedicated to the study of the American South. This year she is chair of the Bradford Dissertation Committee, which selects the best dissertation on a topic in Southern Studies. She will also be a panelist at this year’s conference, discussing shaping influences in southern history through essays.

“Lottie Moon: A Southern Baptist Missionary to China in History and Legend,” Sullivan’s first book, was published in 2011. She earned a Master of Arts in Religion from Yale Divinity School and her doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with an undergraduate degree from Ouachita Baptist University.

Sullivan joined Carson-­Newman as dean of Global Education in 2014, moving from New York City where she taught in the City University of New York system in the Bronx and Brooklyn.

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