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

Chappel, J. Catholic Modern The Challenge of Totalitarianism and the Remaking of the Church.: Harvard University Press, February 19, 2018.

Chappel, JG. "The Fox Is Still Running: Isaiah Berlin's Continuing Relevance." In The Book of Isaiah,edited by H Hardy. Boydell & Brewer Ltd, September 1, 2013. (Essay)

Chappel, JG. "Holy Wars: Secularism and the Invention of Religion." Boston Review, no. May/June 2016 (2016). (Review)

Chappel, JG. "A Servant Heart: How Neoliberalism Came to Be." Boston Review (2015). (Scholarly Commentary)

Chappel, JG. "An Economy of Miracles: Catholicism, Social Science, and Capitalism in West Germany (Accepted)." New German Critique: an interdisciplinary journal of German studies (2015).

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

Chappel, JG. "Nihilism and the Cold War: The Catholic Reception of Nihilism between Nietzsche and Adenauer (Accepted)." Rethinking History: the journal of theory and practice 17, no. 1 (2014).

Chappel, JG. "“Beyond Tocquville: A Plea to Stop ‘Taking Religion Seriously’.”." Modern Intellectual History 10 (October 2013): 697-708. (Academic Article)

Chappel, JG. "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, JAMES. "THE CATHOLIC ORIGINS OF TOTALITARIANISM THEORY IN INTERWAR EUROPE." Modern Intellectual History 8, no. 3 (November 2011): 561-590. Full Text


Chappel, JG. "After the Expulsion: Rhenish Catholicism between Weimar and the Cold War." Annual Meeting of the German Studies Association. Louisville, KY. September 1, 2011.

Chappel, JG. "The Catholic Origins of Totalitarian Theory: Waldemar Gurian between Europe and America, 1920-1950." Annual Meeting of the German Studies Association. Oakland, CA. October 1, 2010.

Chappel, JG. "The End of Ideology and the Beginning of Religion: The Catholic Contribution to Cold War Liberalism." Political Theory and Intellectual History Workshop. Columbia University. April 1, 2010.

Chappel, JG. "Deutscher Held oder preußischer Barbar? Das Bild Martin Luthers in der katholischen Publizistik der Weimarar Republik." Katholische Publizistik im 20. Jahrhundert. University of Eichstätt. August 1, 2009.

Chappel, JG. "A Machine for Making Catholics: The Constitution of the 'Catholic Intellectual' in Edwardian Britan." Religion, Sainthood, and Nationhood. University of Illinois. April 1, 2009.

Chappel, JG. "Catholic Political Economy and the European Welfare State in the Long 1950s (Accepted)." Triangle Intellectual History Seminar. Natioanal Humanities Center. 2014.

Chappel, JG. "Ehe als Beruf: Katholizismus, Sexualität, und Demokratie, 1920-1950." Siegkatholiken, Kulturpessimisten, Gegenintellekruelle. Fridrich Schiller Universität. September 6, 2013.

Chappel, JG. "Rhenish Catholicism, Social Science, and the Origins of Welfare Capitalism in West Germany, 1945-1949." Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. Columbia University. April 1, 2012.

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