Loyola University Chicago

Department of History

Faculty and Staff Directory

Christopher Cantwell

Title/s:  Assistant Professor of Digital Public History

Phone: (773) 508-3493

Email: ccantwell1@luc.edu

CV Link: Cantwell CV


Christopher D. Cantwell (Ph.D. Cornell University, 2012) is a scholar of religion and former museum professional who is interested in the ways that Christianity, capitalism, and collective memory form and shape each other. He explores the relationships between these fields through a mix of personal research, digital history, and public projects.

He is currently completing revisions on his first book, titled The Bible Class Teacher: Memory and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism. Focusing on the life of a Chicago Sunday school teacher who also helped found the city’s first neighborhood historical society in 1929, the book charts the origins of America’s white evangelical nostalgia. This project was preceded by an edited collection on the religious life of working-class Christians called The Pew and the Picket Line, as well as an article on the work of printers at religious publishing houses.

This research on urban religious life informs Cantwell’s work as a digital public historian. He is currently developing a project titled Gathering Places: Religion and Community in the Modern City which has public historians partner with local religious communities to document their history. He first developed this work in Milwaukee, where histories of the city’s religious community were dynamically mapped. You can see the results of this work at Gathering Places: Religion and Community in Milwaukee.

Cantwell’s extensive involvement in the digital humanities facilitates this public engagement. In addition to co-authoring the first survey on how the digital humanities was shaping the study of religion and helping to write the American Academy of Religion’s Guidelines for the Evaluation of Digital Scholarship, Cantwell also has experimented with building evangelical twitterbots, building crowdsourced digital archives, producing history podcasts, and mapping religious life.

Before joining Loyola University Chicago, Cantwell taught at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He began his career at Chicago’s Newberry Library. You can follow Cantwell on Twitter @cdc29.

Research Interests

American Religious History; Public History; Museum Studies; Labor and Working-Class History; Local and Urban  History; Digital Humanities

Courses Taught



Selected Publications

Introduction to Digital Humanities: Research Methods in the Study of Religion. Berlin: DeGruyter Press, 2021. Co-edited with Kristian Petersen.

“Over the Rainbow: Public History as Allyship in Documenting Kansas City’s LGBTQ Past,” Public Historian 41:1 (2019): 245-268. Co-authored with Stuart Hinds and Kathryn Carpenter.

“@Preacher_Bot: An Experiment in Evangelical Speechmaking.” Religion 48:2 (2018): 276-290.

“‘Religion…Is Our Business:’ Religious Work and Religious Workers at the David C. Cook Publishing Company,” Practical Matters 12:1 (2017): http://practicalmattersjournal.org/2017/03/08/religion-is-our-business/.

“Where Two or More are Gathered: The Adult Bible Class Movement and the Social Life of Scripture,” in The Bible in American Life, Phillip Goff, Art Farnsley II, and Peter Thuesen, eds. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017), 142-153.

The Pew and the Picket Line: Christianity and the American Working Class. Working Class in American History Series. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2016. Co-edited with Heath W. Carter and Janine Giordano Drake.

Religion, Media, and the Digital Turn. (New York: Social Science Research Council, 2015). With Hussein Rashid.

“Sacred City: Chicago’s Built Religious Environment,” in Out of the Loop: Vernacular Architecture Forum Chicago, Virginia B. Price, David A. Spatz, and D. Bradford Hunt, eds. (Chicago: Agate Midway Publishers, 2015), 19-28.