Abram Van Engen

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Associate Professor of English

Abram Van Engen is an associate professor English and an affiliate faculty member in the Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.  His research, writing, and teaching focus on early American culture, especially the Puritans.  Van Engen’s first book, Sympathetic Puritans: Calvinist Fellow Feeling in Early New England (Oxford University Press, 2015) explored the broad role of sympathy in Puritan theology and its ramifications in early American literature.  His next project, The Meaning of America: How the United States Became the City on a Hill (Yale University Press), offers a history of American exceptionalism and the rhetoric of American origins, tracking how the United States came to be thought of as a “city on a hill” built on the foundation of Puritan New England.

Van Engen’s work has appeared in multiple journals and online at Salon.comThe ConversationAvidly, Religion and Politics, and other venues.  He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Walter Muir Whitehill Prize in Early American History and a Public Scholar grant and faculty fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

He and his wife, Kristin Van Engen (also faculty at Washington University in St. Louis), attend Grace and Peace Fellowship.  They have two children, Simon (7) and Grace (4).