Waite, Gary K. 1955–
Waite, Gary K. 1955–
PERSONAL: Born March 20, 1955, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; son of Robert Waite (in the Royal Canadian Air Force) and Audrey (Flynn) Waite; married Catherine Cressman, August 27, 1977 (divorced, 1984); married Katherine Hayward (a university tutor), August 7, 1992; children: Jessica Parker (stepdaughter), Eleanor. Ethnicity: Irish-Scottish Education: Ontario Bible College (now Tyndale College), B.Th., 1978; University of Waterloo, B.A., 1980, M.A. 1981, Ph.D., 1987. Politics: "New Democratic Party." Hobbies and other interests: Walking, reading mystery novels, photography.
CAREER: University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 1986–87, began as instructor, became assistant professor; University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, assistant professor, 1987–91, associate professor, 1991–96, professor of history, 1996–. Visiting fellow, Clare Hall, Cambridge, 2001.
MEMBER: Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies, Canadian Historical Association, Sixteenth-Century Studies Conference Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: University of New Brunswick merit awards, 1991, 2002, and research scholarship, 2005; life fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge.
David Joris and Dutch Anabaptism, 1524–1543, Wilfred Laurier University Press (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), 1990.
(Editor and translator) The Anabaptist Writings of David Joris, 1535–1543, Herald Press (Scottdale, PA), 1994.
Reformers on Stage: Popular Drama and Religious Propaganda in the Low Countries of Charles V, 1515–1556, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.
Heresy, Magic, and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to books, including Profiles of Anabaptist Women: Sixteenth-Century Reforming Pioneers, edited by C. Arnold Snyder and Linda H. Hecht, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1996; Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation, Oxford University Press, 1996; Rederijkers: conformisten en rebellen. Literatuur, cultuur en stedelijke netwerken (1400–1650), Amsterdam University Press, 2003; Confessional Sanctity (c.1550c.1800), Philipp von Zabern, 2003; ABC-CLIO Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Western Tradition, ABC-CLIO, 2003; and Urban Theatre in the Low Countries, 1400–1625, Brepols Publishers, 2006. Contributor to periodicals, including Fides et Historia, Social History, Dutch Review of Church History, Canadian Journal of History, Church History, Ecuminist, Mennonite Quarterly Review, and Renaissance et Réforme.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Eradicating the Devil's Minions: The Persecution of Anabaptists and Witches in Reformation Europe.
SIDELIGHTS: Gary K. Waite is a professor and historian who specializes in religious history and the effect of religion on European societies during the Protestant Reformation and the early modern period. He focuses on the literature and culture of the 1500s in several of his books, particularly Reformers on Stage: Popular Drama and Religious Propaganda in the Low Countries of Charles V, 1515–1556. In this work, Waite studies the texts of eighty dramas written to be produced by small, local acting societies in Antwerp and Amsterdam during the period under scrutiny. Supporting his analysis with records gleaned from other primary-source materials, the author argues that the plays depict a society wherein the tastes of the merchant and artisan classes, rather than those of the nobility, determined the culture. Noting that the plays Waite explores "became subtle propaganda for reform" in the hands of both Protestant and Roman Catholic groups, Church History contributor James H. Forse explained that such propaganda remained subtle to allow acting societies to perform freely—and thereby disseminate their religious beliefs. Citing Waite's "careful scholarship" and "attention to the social and political framework" of the plays, Forse praised Reformers on Stage as "a valuable addition to studies linking drama and the Reformation in Early Modern Europe." Waite's more recent book, Heresy, Magic, and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe, further enhances understanding of the period by exploring the religious conflicts that led to witch hunting, persecution, and a rising belief in the supernatural.
Waite told CA: "After the death of my father in 1957, my brother and I were raised by our mother in Toronto. Thanks to a widow's pension and a place in a low-income housing development, we were able to have a good life and to look forward to post-secondary education. My involvement in an evangelical church as a youth led to enrollment in a bible college after high school. Graduating with a bachelor's degree from Ontario Bible College (now Tyndale College, Toronto) in 1978, my first wife and I moved to Waterloo, Ontario, where I began my studies in history at the University of Waterloo. Throughout my academic training, I gradually withdrew from my evangelical beliefs, although the history of religion and religious beliefs has remained one of my major research interests. Under the supervision of Dr. Werner O. Packull, I defended my Ph.D. dissertation in December, 1986, on the subject of the sixteenth-century Dutch radical religious reformer David Joris.
"My research and writing interests have broadened considerably since my Ph.D. work, although I retain a deep fascination with the impact of the religious impulse in history. After revising my dissertation and translating some of the key early writings of Joris, I returned to the subject of sixteenth-century religious drama and its impact as propaganda during the early Reformation in the Netherlands. In the meantime, I began teaching courses on the history of the witch hunts in early modern Europe, and this sparked my most recent research into the history of religious fervour, doubt, and intolerance and their role in sparking fears of diabolical conspiracies and a desire to persecute both heretics and witches. This research has resulted in Heresy, Magic, and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe, as well as a second volume on the persecution of the Anabaptists and witches in early modern Europe.
"Although I am proud of my work on Joris and Dutch drama, I think that I would have to point to my Heresy, Magic, and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe, as my favourite book to date. Intended for a wider audience than my more specialized studies, it takes a fairly simple argument about why early-modern Europeans became obsessed with conspiracy theories and runs with it, offering new insights into the potential dangers of religious fervour.
"My life experience and academic research have made me an advocate of religious tolerance and understanding and an opponent of intolerance in any guise. My politics are definitely left of center, and as a member of the New Democratic Party, I promote the development of a society that cares for all its members in such a way that all citizens, regardless of social or familial background, are able to reach their potential."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, June, 1992, Keith L. Sprunger, review of David Joris and Dutch Anabaptism, 1524–1543, p. 869; April, 2002, Andrew Pettegree, review of Reformers on Stage: Popular Drama and Religious Propaganda in the Low Countries of Charles V, 1515–1556, p. 635.
Canadian Journal of History, December, 1991, James M. Stayer, review of David Joris and Dutch Anabaptism, 1524–1543, p. 500.
Catholic Historical Review, July, 1995, James M. Stayer, reviews of David Joris and Dutch Anabaptism, 1524–1543 and The Anabaptist Writings of David Joris, 1535–1543, p. 445.
Church History, December, 1992, Lee Daniel Snyder, review of David Joris and Dutch Anabaptism, 1524–1543, p. 448; June, 1996, Walter Klaassen, review of The Anabaptist Writings of David Joris, 1535–1543, p. 272; September, 2002, James H. Forse, review of Reformers on Stage, p. 657.
English Historical Review, June, 2004, Julian Goodare, review of Heresy, Magic, and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe, p. 791.
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, July, 1992, Alistair Hamilton, review of David Joris and Dutch Anabaptism, 1524–1543, p. 484.
Sixteenth-Century Journal, fall, 1991, H. Wayne Pipkin, review of David Joris and Dutch Anabaptism, 1524–1543, p. 597; fall, 1995, John D. Roth, review of The Anabaptist Writings of David Joris, 1535–1543, p. 706.