Conkin, Paul K. 1929- (Paul Keith Conkin)
Conkin, Paul K. 1929- (Paul Keith Conkin)
Born October 25, 1929, in Chuckey, TN; son of Harry T. and Dorothy Conkin; married Dorothy L. Tharp, August 14, 1954; children: Keith Tharp, Claudia Sue, Lydia Kathleen. Ethnicity: "White." Education: Milligan College, B.A., 1951; Vanderbilt University, M.A., 1953, Ph.D., 1957.
Home—Nashville, TN. E-mail—[email protected]
University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette, assistant professor of philosophy and history, 1957-59; University of Maryland at College Park, College Park, assistant professor, 1959-61, associate professor, 1961-66, professor of history, 1966-67; University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, professor of history, 1967-76, Merle Curti Professor of History, beginning 1976; Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, distinguished professor of history, 1979-2000, distinguished research professor, 2000-02, professor emeritus, 2002—. Military service: U.S. Army, 1953-55.
Organization of American Historians, Southern Historical Association (president, 1996-97).
Albert J. Beveridge Award in American History, American Historical Association, 1958; Guggenheim fellow, 1966-67; National Endowment for the Humanities, senior fellow, 1972-73, university fellowship, 1990.
Two Paths to Utopia: The Hutterites and the Llano Colony, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1964.
Puritans and Pragmatists: Eight Eminent American Thinkers, Dodd (New York, NY), 1968.
(With Roland N. Stromberg) The Heritage and Challenge of History, Dodd (New York, NY), 1971.
Self-Evident Truths, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1974.
(With David Burner) A History of Recent America, Crowell (New York, NY), 1974.
(Editor, with John Higham) New Directions in American Intellectual History, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1979.
Prophets of Prosperity: America's First Political Economists, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1980.
(Editor, with Erwin C. Hargrove) TVA, Fifty Years of Grass-Roots Bureaucracy, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1983.
(With Henry Lee Swint and Patricia S. Miletich) Gone with the Ivy: A Biography of Vanderbilt University, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1985.
Big Daddy from the Pedernales: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Twayne Publishers (Boston, MA), 1986.
The Southern Agrarians, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1988.
(With Roland N. Stromberg) Heritage and Challenge: The History and Theory of History, Forum Press (Arlington Heights, IL), 1989.
Cane Ridge, America's Pentecost, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 1990.
The Four Foundations of American Government: Consent, Limits, Balance, and Participation, Harlan Davidson (Arlington Heights, IL), 1994.
The Uneasy Center: Reformed Christianity in Antebellum America, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 1995.
American Originals: Homemade Varieties of Christianity, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 1997.
When All the Gods Trembled: Darwinism, Scopes, and American Intellectuals, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 1998.
A Requiem for the American Village, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2000.
Peabody College: From a Frontier Academy to the Frontiers of Teaching and Learning, Vanderbilt University Press (Nashville, TN), 2002.
The State of the Earth: Environmental Challenges on the Road to 2100, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 2007.
Contributor to journals.
F.D.R. and the Origins of the Welfare State, written by historian and educator Paul K. Conkin in 1967, is considered to be one of the best-known titles in a popular series of books about American history. In it, the author paints a rich portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his associates, while detailing the domestic policies adopted during Roosevelt's term as president of the United States.
Accessible even to readers who are not historians, Conkin's book Heritage and Challenge: The History and Theory of History, written with Roland N. Stromberg, provides a brief, coherent history of historical writing along with an analysis of the issues (philosophical and theoretical) that challenge historians. The Four Foundations of American Government: Consent, Limits, Balance, and Participation is Conkin's concise exploration of the items and concepts named in the title: the consent of a sovereign people, limited government, balanced government, and democratic participation.
Conkin outlines the origins of America's Reformed churches in his next book, The Uneasy Center: Reformed Christianity in Antebellum America. In this work he also explains the traditions, disputes, and forms of worship and organization of each of these churches during the years prior to the Civil War. In reviewing The Uneasy Center, W. Clark Gilpin observed in Christian Century that this book "displays all the virtues of an experienced teacher who has thought regularly and deeply about a subject with changing generations of students. Clear, balanced and richly informative, it not only engages current scholarship but also offers fresh readings of the pivotal primary texts and contexts."
In American Originals: Homemade Varieties of Christianity, Conkin provides a history and defined the forms of Christianity in the United States. American Originals was labeled "helpful for all readers who need a nonbiased account on these groups" by Leroy Hommerding in Library Journal. The chapters in this book were reviewed by scholars of the doctrines and practices about which Conkin wrote.
When All the Gods Trembled: Darwinism, Scopes, and American Intellectuals is Conkin's account of the famous Scopes "Monkey Trial" of 1925 and the intellectual and religious debates surrounding it. This work also includes an original analysis of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species and illustrates how Americans in the twentieth century attempted to reconcile Darwin's theories with existing religious traditions.
Conklin's book A Requiem for the American Village was portrayed as a wide-ranging collection of seventeen "wise, trenchant, iconoclastic essays" by a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. This reviewer also commented that "Conkin celebrates American pluralism and tolerance of diversity as he mourns tight-knit local communities, which, in his estimation, have all but disappeared." This work also includes a look by the author at different forms of "colonies" and his examination of the reasons these collective and communal living arrangements have failed. In this work, Conkin also described how America's earliest towns and villages in reality could be exclusive, repressive, restrictive places, the reviewer pointed out.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, December, 1972, review of The Heritage and Challenge of History, p. 1402.
Christian Century, September 13, 1995, W. Clark Gilpin, review of The Uneasy Center: Reformed Christianity in Antebellum America, p. 856.
Christian Science Monitor, August 23, 1969, review of Puritans and Pragmatists: Eight Eminent American Thinkers, p. 9.
Journal of American History, September, 1975, review of Self-Evident Truths, p. 379.
Journal of Southern History, February, 1975, review of Self-Evident Truths, p. 97.
Library Journal, August, 1997, Leroy Hommerding, review of American Originals: Homemade Varieties of Christianity, p. 93.
Publishers Weekly, February 28, 2000, review of A Requiem for the American Village, p. 74.
William and Mary Quarterly, April, 1975, review of Self-Evident Truths, p. 349.