Campus News

Bowdoin Professor Burke Long Awarded Two Fellowships

Story posted May 15, 1997


BRUNSWICK, Maine -- Bowdoin College Professor of Religion Burke O. Long has been awarded two fellowships in support of his research on "Biblical Scholars, the Holy Land, and American Cultural Identities".

Long was selected in a national competition for a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies. In addition, Bowdoin has awarded him a Kenan Fellowship for Faculty Development. Long will use these funds over the next few years to explore how debates about the uniqueness of American experience, race, religion, scientific progressivism, democracy, and socialism were entangled with romantic notions of holy land and scientific world views in the technical and popularized work of biblical scholars who came into contact with the "holy land."

Constructing an intellectual history of biblical scholarship that is part of broader religious and cultural studies, Long's research aims to illuminate the social, political, and ideological complications of an academic discipline; to explore crossover zones between scholarly activities and images of "holy land" popularized in landscape paintings, dioramas, photographic essays and holy land theme parks; and to help explain why involvement with the land of the Bible continues to be such an insistent part of American life today.

This project continues Long's work in tracing ideological complications embedded in the activities of biblical scholars. He has just published Planting and Reaping Albright: Politics, Ideology, and Interpreting the Bible, (The Pennsylvania University Press, 1997), a book that draws on private letters, interviews, and published work to expose ideological presuppositions and political machinations embedded in historical knowledge about the Bible that William Foxwell Albright and a small group of his disciples constructed and disseminated through their various activities. Long investigates Albright's many assumptions about the "way things really are" and the ways in which his students, describing themselves as "sons of Albright," embarked on a crusade to secure political and ideological dominance of the landscape of American biblical scholarship.

Long joined the Bowdoin faculty in 1968. A graduate of Randolph- Macon University, he earned his master's degree and his doctorate at Yale University. Long will be on sabbatic leave from Bowdoin during 1997-98 academic year.

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