210 Benson Hall
Monday and Wednesday 3:00-5:00 pm, and by appointment
Ph.D., Michigan (1989)
Joel F. Harrington
Professor of History
Joel Harrington is a historian of Europe, specializing in the Reformation and early modern Germany, with research interests in various aspects of social history, particularly marriage, children, and the family. His most recent book,The Unwanted Child: The Fate of Foundings, Orphans, and Juvenile Criminals in Early Modern Germany (University of Chicago Press, 2009) examines the issues of abandoned and street children through the perspectives of six historical figures, arguing that the significance of informal foster parents in pre-modern Europe was much greater than most historians have assumed. The Unwanted Child was awarded the 2010 Roland H. Bainton Prize for History, which recognizes the best book published in English during the preceding year in any Historical field from 1450-1660. His other scholarly publications include Reordering Marriage and Society in Reformation Germany (Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995; paperback 2005), and A Cloud of Witnesses: Readings in the History of Western Christianity (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001). Projects currently underway include a study of an early modern executioner's journal and a comparison of concepts and laws relating to infanticide and witchcraft.
Harrington has been awarded fellowships from--among others--the Fulbright-Hayes Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the American Philosophical Society. He has lectured widely in North America and Europe and he has resided as a visiting fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, Herzog August Bibliothek (Wolfenbüttel), Institut für Geschichte der Medizin (Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg), and Clare College (Cambridge).
Professor Harrington has taught a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses at Vanderbilt since his arrival in 1989, including the history of Christian traditions, Reformation Europe, religion and the occult in early modern Europe, and early modern social history. From 2004-2011 he served as Vanderbilt's first senior international officer (Associate Provost for Global Strategy), a full-time administrative position, and before that, from 2000-2004, he was Director of the Center for European Studies.