Religious studies professor awarded three-year fellowship

Religious studies professor Stephen Shoemaker

Over the next three years, Stephen Shoemaker, a professor of religious studies, will be busy with his research after receiving the UO’s new Ira E. Gaston Fellowship in Christian Studies. 

This one-time fellowship awards Shoemaker $10,000 per year for the next three years to be used for research.

“It means a great deal to me to have this research support,” Shoemaker said. “Research in my field is expensive and often involves travel to collaborate with colleagues and to access manuscripts and specific library collections.”

Shoemaker’s recent research has been centered around early devotion to Mary, the rise of Islam and apocalypticism in late antiquity.

Karen Ford, divisional dean for humanities, said the fellowship was created to recognize Shoemaker’s scholarly record and his contributions as a teacher. She said the five books and 20 articles he’s published in the last six years are high quality.

“His 2016 book in early Christianity, ‘Mary in Early Christian Faith and Devotion,’ shifts our understanding of the place of Mary in the history of Christian thought,” Ford said. “In leading journals, the book has been called ‘important,’ ‘splendid,’ ‘careful’ and ‘perceptive,’ and Stephen is regarded as a leading authority in the field.”

At the UO, Shoemaker currently teaches the history of Christianity and directs the medieval studies program. He has served on several university committees and has given more than 50 academic presentations.

Shoemaker has previously received other fellowships and honors in the humanities, including a $220,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to help with his work translating a source for understanding the transitions of religions and empires in the Mediterranean during the early seventh century.

—By Emily Hoard, University Communications