Eric Carlson


Research Professor in History


Eric Carlson joined the Gustavus faculty in 1990 after teaching for three years at Denison University. He retired from teaching in May 2019 and is currently Research Professor. He taught the first half of the European history survey and the department's required methods and historiography course, Thinking Historically, as well as courses on medieval and Tudor-Stuart England, Medieval Christianity, the Reformation, Modern Germany, and European Jewish history. Carlson received his BA in history from UCLA in 1976, MA from UCLA in history (British studies) in 1978, and PhD from Harvard University in 1987. He has also been a visiting graduate student at the University of Cambridge, where he was affiliated with Clare Hall.

Carlson has published three books: Marriage and the English Reformation (1994), 'Practical Divinity': The Works and Life of Revd Richard Greenham (with Kenneth L. Parker, 1998), and (as editor and contributor) Religion and the English People 1500-1640: New Voices/New Perspectives (1998). He also published several articles and essays on aspects of 16th and 17th century English religion, most notably the controversial "Clerical Marriage and the English Reformation, Journal of British Studies 31 (1992), "The origins, function, and status of the office of churchwarden, with particular reference to the diocese of Ely," in The World of Rural Dissenters, 1520-1725, ed. Margaret Spufford (Cambridge University Press, 1995), "The Boring of the Ear: Shaping the Pastoral Practice of Preaching in England, 1540-1640," in Preachers and People in the Reformations and Early Modern Period, ed. Larissa Juliet Taylor (Brill, 2001) and "Good Pastors or Careless Shepherds? Parish Ministers and the English Reformation," History 88 (2003). His most recent publications are "Confession and Absolution in Caroline Cambridge: The 1637 Crisis in Context" in Retribution, Repentance, and Reconciliation, ed. Kate Cooper and Jeremy Gregory, Studies in Church History 40 (2004) and an article on "Teaching Elizabeth Tudor with Movies: Film, Historical Thinking, and the Classroom" which was based on his experience in a January Term class at Gustavus (Sixteenth Century Journal 38 [2007]). Carlson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1996 and served as an elected member of the North American Conference on British Studies council from 1999 to 2003, Associate Editor of the Journal of British Studies from 2005 to 2010, and a member of the Committee on the Morris K. Forkosch Prize in British History (awarded by the American Historical Association).  He received the Faculty Scholarly Achievement Award in 2009.

His current research is on the Seven Deadly Sins in post-Reformation England, with a particular focus on anger/wrath.  He has presented aspects of this research at the Center for Medieval Studies of the University of Minnesota, the Honors Program of Central Michigan University, the Early Modern History seminar sponsored by the University of Southern California and the Huntington Library, and the North American British Studies Conference.  In May 2011, he presented invited lectures in the United Kingdom at the Universities of Durham, Oxford, and Warwick.  In September 2012, he gave the keynote address to the Western Conference on British Studies.  In Fall 2013, he presented a paper on Reformation ideas about 'just anger' (i.e. anger that isn't a sin) at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference (San Juan, PR) but then didn't get much else done because of becoming department chair.  Carlson was very busy in Fall 2017 delivering lectures in a variety of places as part of the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation.  Thanks to COVID-19, research trips and conferences haven't happened, so Carlson has focussed on revising earlier research on private confession in the English Post-Reformation for publication.  In September 2021 he will be participating in the Reformation Studies Colloquium as a presenter via Zoom -- hopefully the beginning of return to fuller participation in the international scholarly community.

Courses Taught

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
HIS-221 The Reformation 13 2018/SP, 2016/SP, 2015/SP, 2014/SP, 2013/SP, 2012/SP, 2009/SP, 2006/SP, 2004/FA, 2004/SP, 2003/FA, 2002/SP, and 2001/SP
HIS-110 Europe 1000-1648 11 2018/FA, 2017/FA, 2016/SP, 2014/FA, 2013/FA, 2013/SP, 2012/FA, 2011/FA, 2004/SP, and 1999/SP
HIS-200 History Seminar 10 2015/FA, 2015/SP, 2014/SP, 2010/FA, 2008/SP, 2007/FA, 2005/SP, 2004/FA, 2000/FA, and 2000/SP
HIS-223 Medieval England 8 2017/FA, 2012/FA, 2010/FA, 2007/FA, 2005/FA, 2003/FA, 2001/FA, and 1999/FA
HIS-220 Medieval Christianity 7 2018/FA, 2015/FA, 2014/FA, 2013/FA, 2012/FA, 2011/FA, and 2010/FA
HIS-397 Honors Tutorial II 7 2015/SP, 2014/SP, 2008/SP, 2007/SP, 2007/JN, 2006/SP, and 2001/SP
FTS-100 First Term Seminar 7 2008/FA, 2006/FA, 2005/FA, 2002/SP, 2001/SP, 2000/SP, and 1999/FA
HIS-224 Tudor & Stuart England 5 2014/SP, 2011/FA, 2006/FA, 2004/FA, and 2000/FA
HIS-228 Women in Pre-Industrial Europe 5 2009/SP, 2007/SP, 2004/SP, 2002/SP, and 2000/SP
HIS-120 Modern Europe II, 1789–Present 4 2008/FA, 2005/SP, and 2000/FA
HIS-308 Europe Jews 1000-1955 3 2018/SP, 2016/SP, and 2015/SP
HIS-229 Witches 1400-1700 3 2018/JN, 2011/JN, and 2008/JN
HIS-225 Modern Germany 3 2015/FA, 2013/FA, and 2012/SP
HIS-344 Queen Elizabeth I 2 2019/SP and 2013/SP
HIS-396 Honors Tutorial I 2 2014/FA and 2007/FA
HIS-310 European Lives 2 2012/SP and 2008/SP
HIS-345 Queen Elizabeth I 2 2006/JN and 2004/JN
HIS-312 The Family in Pre-Industrial Europe 2 2003/FA and 2001/SP
HIS-311 Crime and Punishment in Pre-1800 Europe 2 2001/FA and 1999/FA
HIS-205 Holocaust: History and Memory 1 2002/JN
Courses prior to Spring semester 1999 are not displayed.