John Fea
Associate Professor of American History
Department of History
Box 3051
Messiah College
One College Avenue
Grantham, PA 17027
717-766-2511, ext. 2253
jfea@messiah.edu

BIOGRAPHY

I was born and raised in Morris County, New Jersey (Montville/Boonton area) and completed my Ph.D in American History at the State University of New York at Stony Brook (1999) with a specialization in early American history.  Prior to coming to Messiah College I taught American history at Valparaiso University (IN) where I served a two-year postdoctoral appointment with the Lilly Fellows Program in Arts and Humanities.  I joined the history department at Messiah in the fall of 2002.  My teaching includes the following courses: United States Survey Before 1865, Colonial America, Revolutionary America, The Early American Republic, Civil War America, and Immigrant America. class. As a scholar I think and write about American culture broadly defined, the intersection between ideas and everyday life in American history, the relationship between “cosmopolitanism” and “place,” the history of the early mid-Atlantic and New Jersey, and the connections between religion, politics and American culture.  I am also interested in the role of church-related higher education in American society and the relationship between faith and academic life. 

My first book,  The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America appeared in 2008 with the University of Pennsylvania Press. (It is now available in paperback). The project focuses on the relationship between Presbyterianism and the social world of the Enlightenment through a biographical study of eighteenth-century New Jersey diarist Philip Vickers Fithian. I have co-edited a volume (with Jay Green and Eric Miller) entitled Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian's Vocation (University of Notre Dame Press, 2010) and finishing a book for lay readers on the idea of America as a "Christian nation."  Was America Founded as a Christian Nation: A Historical Introduction will appear in February 2011 with Westminster/John Knox Press.  I am currently working on two book projects: "A Presbyterian Rebellion: The American Revolution in the Mid-Atlantic."  and "The Greenwich Tea Burning: History and Memory in an American Town." The former is an attempt to reinterpret the coming of the American Revolution in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania by focusing on Presbyterian political activity. The latter explores the history and memory of a "tea party" that occured in 1774 in Greenwich, N.J.

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Born, February 17, 1966, Denville, New Jersey.

Married to Joy (Olson) Fea.  Two daughters, Allyson (age 12), Caroline (age 9).