In October of 2018 the University of Sioux Falls’ very own professor, Dr. Stephen Jackson was awarded the Australian Religious History Fellowship for 2019. He received a grant of $20,000 for his year long sabbatical for his research. For Dr. Jackson it means travel, new experiences and a wealth of knowledge to bring back to USF.
Dr. Jackson is in his sixth year at USF, he started in the fall of 2013 and teaches a wide variety of Histories. In particular, he teaches many modern European Histories and a few transnational histories, along with a specialty in teaching the History of British Empires.
Dr. Jackson dedicated this past summer to his proposal for the fellowship. His book, Constructing National Identity in Canadian and Australian Classrooms, was published which lead to the development of his most recent research project. Dr. Jackson knew he was eligible for sabbatical coming up the following year and spent his summer working on the project he wanted to develop next. It was a lot of fun for him to figure out something new and see where his research would take him next.
“What I wanted to find was a project that would flow organically from what I’ve already been doing. I think I found that, and then I started sending our proposals pretty much everywhere.”
Dr. Jackson wants to further the scholarly discussion about how these places in the British World deal with the process of decolonization. He is mainly interested in the effects of decolonization in the British Empire after the Second World War, what it looked like and how it worked. The way Dr. Jackson plans on tackling it for his newest project is looking at how protestants where dealing with it.
“I want to know how did they deal with decolonization, because their network, their institutions, if you think about how missionaries are sent out, all of that happened according to an imperial framework, and that framework is just gone in the 30 years following WW11.”
After looking at decolonization in educations systems, Dr. Jackson found that religious education was a really big deal. Jackson took a small part of his previous project and found that he only had part of the story. This lead to the title of his newest project, Sunday Morning Empire: Protestantism and Empire in the British World, 1880-1970.His project will ponder how Protestant Sunday schools helped structure an imperial identity in the early part of the 20th century. Particularly across Anglo-world and Australia.
“What are they teaching children about what the world looks like when they teach them Sunday school classes?”
The particular award Dr. Jackson received is an award on Australian religious History and is suppose to be based in the Mitchell State Library of New South Wales located in Sydney Australia. The $20,000 grant allows him to travel all around Sydney, where there are many different archives. He plans on using the special collections of the library along with the archives around Sydney to further his research.
The award means a lot to Dr. Jackson. Many of the others applying for similar award come from big name, Ivy League institutions.
“What it means to me is that were just as good as anybody. We’ve got really good researchers here and really good work that is going on. You don’t have to be at Harvard to go and do really meaningful research.”
Dr. Jackson not only applied for the Australian Religious History Fellowship, receiving a $20,000. He has applied for many other grants in hopes of traveling in many other places around the world. In the next academic year he will be traveling across the world to work on a project that he is very passionate about. This is an exciting opportunity for Dr. Jackson