John W. McCormack, PhD

John McCormackAssistant Professor of Religion

Office Location:  Eckhart 404
Phone Number: 630-844-5267
Email Address:

Studying religion gives students opportunities to reflect on the relationships between beliefs and behavior, between individuals and communities, and between past and present. My goal in the classroom is to break down preconceptions about religions and to encourage careful observation. I show students how religious worldviews are constantly being built and rebuilt from interpretations of texts and practices. Religious history is not merely a chain of events in the past; it is made present daily in religious believers’ decisions about how they ought to live.

PhD, History - University of Notre Dame
MA, History - University of Notre Dame
MA, Religion - Yale University
BA, History - Yale University

Areas of Specialization
History of Christianity, especially the Protestant and Catholic Reformations
Religion and Politics
Memory and Life-writing

Courses Taught
REL 1050: Introduction to World Religions
REL 1100: The Christian Bible
REL 1400: Spirituality Today
REL 2060: Exploring Religion
REL 2200: Shaping of Christian Identity
REL 2310: Faiths of Abraham
REL 2320: Faiths of India
REL 2330: Faiths of East Asia
REL 2810: Faith on Film (Special Topics)
REL 3350: Jesus
REL 3360: Jewish and Christian Responses to the Holocaust
REL 3400: Love the Stranger-Interfaith Dialogue
REL 4990: Seminar in Religious Studies (Topics change annually)
HIS / REL 2760: Religion in America
HIS 3200: US History since the 1960s
HIS / REL 3800: Reformation Europe
HUM 3810: The Self Before the Selfie (Special Topics)
HUM / FRN 3880: Immersion Experience: Provence, France (May Term Travel Course)
IDS 1200: Discover What Matters
IDS 1610: Being Human: Ethics and Morality
IDS 2020: Trajectories of Human History
IDS 2030: Science and Society
IDS 3040: Global Justice
PHL 1100: Problems of Philosophy
PHL / REL 3100: Philosophy of Religion
PHL 3150: Professional Ethics
PHL 3200: Business Ethics

Highlights of Publications, Honors and Professional Contributions

Discerning Tears in Early Modern Catholicism.” In A Mirror for Medieval and Early Modern Studies: Selected Proceedings of the Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies 2012 Multidisciplinary Graduate Student Conference. Edited by Laura Aydelotte. Chicago: The Newberry Library, 2012.

Selected Conference Papers and Talks
“Something there is that doesn’t loathe a missionary: Conversion, the Colonial Enterprise, and the Teaching of Religious Studies.” American Academy of Religion Midwest Regional Meeting, Muncie, IN, 3 March 2018

“Here We Stand: Reformation and its 500-Year Legacy.” Aurora University Arts & Ideas, 2 November 2017

“Aristotle, Buddha, and the Devil: Jesuits and the Religions of Southeast Asia in the Seventeenth-Century.” Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, University of Toronto, Canada, 29 September 2017

“Virtue, Power, and the Double Binds of Neostoicism in the Wars of Religion.” Western Society for French History, Cedar Rapids, IA, 5 November 2016

“Second-Hand Emotions: Reflections on the History of Feeling.” Faculty Teaching and Research Symposium, Aurora University, 26 October 2016

“Playing Around with Great Books Across the Curriculum.” Faculty Teaching and Research Symposium, Aurora University, 17 February 2016

“How to Write the History of the French World: Alexandre de Rhodes (d. 1660) Envisions Empire.” Western Society for French History, Chicago, IL, 6 November 2015

“Paris, 1610: From the Ritual to the Affective Turn.” Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, University of Toronto, Canada, 27 June 2014

“‘None but Demons’: Religion and Superstition in Seventeenth-Century Vietnam.” Midwest World History Association, Springfield, OH, 28 September 2013

“The Drama of Assassination in Early Modern France: Religion, Politics, and Emotion.” Newberry Library, Chicago, IL, 13 March 2013

Fellowships and Awards
Aurora University Faculty Research Development Grant (2017)

Aurora University Faculty Teaching Development Grant (2016)

Graduate Scholar-in-Residence, The Newberry Library, Chicago, IL (2012-2013)

Paul G. Tobin Dissertation Fellowship, Nanovic Institute for European Studies, University of Notre Dame (2012-2013)

Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Notre Dame (2010-2011)

Mullin Scholar, Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies, University of Southern California (2010-2011)

Newberry Library-École Nationale des Chartes Exchange Fellowship (2009-2010)

Lilly Presidential Fellowship, University of Notre Dame (2006-2011, 2011-2012)

Mary Cady Tew Prize for Outstanding Achievement in History, Yale Divinity School (2006)

Highlights of Campus Involvement
Advisor, Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society (Spring 2016-present)
Member, General Education Committee (Fall 2017-present)