James Gregory Chappel

James Gregory Chappel

Assistant Professor of History

Office hours: 

(on leave, 2016-17)


James Chappel is the Hunt Family Assistant Professor of History at Duke University. His first book will appear from Harvard University Press in the Spring of 2018: "Catholic Modern: The Challenge of Totalitarianism and the Remaking of the Church." The book is primarily an intellectual history of European Catholics between the 1920s and 1960s, focusing on their conceptualization of the family, the economy, and the state. It argues that the experience of the 1930s were a watershed in the history of the Church, as the twin threats of fascism and (especially) Communism pushed Catholic thinkers towards a wholly renovated form of social Catholic ethics. Essentially, Catholics ceased struggling against modernity, and began struggling for Catholic forms of modernity -- as they do today.

He is at work on two further projects. The first is provisionally entitled "Old Volk: The Invention of Old Age in Modern Germany." Building on recent interdisciplinary investigations into the relationship between political economy and the family, this book ponders the invention of "old age" as a category of cultural life, social-scientific expertise, and policymaking. The second is provisionally entitled "The Second Reformation: Global Christianity and the Logic of Sanctuary, 1960-1980." Building on a set of case studies in the United States, Latin America, and Europe, this book integrates Christianity into the rapidly-expanding literature on the global 1960s and 1970s, showing how the New Left and the New Right both capitalized on capitalist expansion, countercultural experiment, and decolonization.

For more information, visit his personal website.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Columbia University 2012

Selected Grants

Chappel NHC Fellowship awarded by National Humanities Center (Principal Investigator). 2019

Chappel, J. G. “The Fox Is Still Running: Isaiah Berlin's Continuing Relevance.” In The Book of Isaiah, edited by Henry Hardy. Boydell & Brewer Ltd, 2013.

Chappel, J. G. “Entries on Friedrich von Hayek, Karl Mannheim, Jacques Maritain, Charles Maurras, and Joseph Schumpeter.” In Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, n.d.

Chappel, J. G. “Holy Wars: Secularism and the Invention of Religion.” Boston Review, no. May/June 2016 (2016).

Chappel, J. G. “An Economy of Miracles: Catholicism, Social Science, and Capitalism in West Germany.” New German Critique: An Interdisciplinary Journal of German Studies, 2015.

Chappel, J. G. “Review of Thomas Großbölting, "Der verlorene Himmel, Glaube in Deutschland seit 1945".” Journal of Modern History 87 (2015).

Chappel, J. G. “A Servant Heart: How Neoliberalism Came to Be.” Boston Review, 2015.

Chappel, J. G. “Nihilism and the Cold War: The Catholic Reception of Nihilism between Nietzsche and Adenauer.” Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice 17, no. 1 (2014).

Chappel, J. G. “Review of "Foreign Front: Third World Politics in Sixties West Germany" by Quinn Slobodian.” Journal of Contemporary History 49 (2014).

Chappel, J. G. ““Beyond Tocquville: A Plea to Stop ‘Taking Religion Seriously’.”.” Modern Intellectual History 10 (October 2013): 697–708.

Chappel, J. G. “A Mechanical Style in Our Joys: Time, Space, and Discipline in British Sports.” Crossings: A Counter Disciplinary Journal, no. 8 (September 3, 2012): 77–115.

CHAPPEL, J. A. M. E. S. “THE CATHOLIC ORIGINS OF TOTALITARIANISM THEORY IN INTERWAR EUROPE.” Modern Intellectual History 8, no. 3 (November 2011): 561–90. https://doi.org/10.1017/s1479244311000357. Full Text


Spring 2020

Gtwy Sem: The Global Sixties (HISTORY 160S)
Class Bldg 229, TuTh 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
Research In Human Rights (HISTORY 488S)
Bio Sci 155, M 10:05 AM-12:35 PM

Fall 2019

Topics In Focus Program (HISTORY 190FS)
Crowell 107, TuTh 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
Europe In Twentieth Cent (HISTORY 286)
East Duke 108, TuTh 01:25 PM-02:40 PM

Spring 2018

Genocide And Human Rights (HISTORY 272)
Gross Hall 105, TuTh 08:30 AM-09:45 AM
Research Seminar In Hst (HISTORY 702S)
Carr 136, M 10:05 AM-12:35 PM

Fall 2017

Europe In Twentieth Cent (HISTORY 286)
Carr 137, TuTh 10:05 AM-11:20 AM

Spring 2016

Genocide And Human Rights (HISTORY 272)
Bio Sci 113, MW 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
Rsch Top Pol/pub Life/state (HISTORY 890S-07)
Carr 242, Tu 03:05 PM-05:35 PM

Spring 2015

Intro Human Rts & Social Mvmts (HISTORY 109)
Gray 319, WF 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
Gtwy Sem: The Global Sixties (HISTORY 160S)
Crowell 107, W 03:20 PM-05:55 PM

Fall 2014

Gtwy Sem: The Global Sixties (HISTORY 160S)
White 201, W 04:40 PM-07:10 PM
Europe In Twentieth Cent (HISTORY 286)
Carr 103, TuTh 11:45 AM-01:00 PM

Spring 2014

Cap Sem: Race In Modern Europe (HISTORY 475S)
Allen 304I, Tu 10:05 AM-12:35 PM
History Of Human Rights (HISTORY 272)
Friedl Bdg 240, MW 10:05 AM-11:20 AM