This past weekend at the “Digital Humanities: The Next Generation” conference, my collaborator Erin Bartram and I debuted a project we have just started working on. The American Converts Database is a database of people who experienced a religious conversion in the United States.
Erin and I are collaborating on the project because both our dissertations are about converts. Erin is writing about Jane Minot Sedgwick II and networks of female friends who converted to Catholicism. I am writing about nineteenth-century converts between Protestantism and Catholicism, between Christianity and Judaism, between native or African religions and Christianity, between mainstream denominations and new religious movements such as the Mormons, and between religion and irreligion. We met at a panel on Catholic converts at ACHA 2013, and realized that collaborating on a database would help us both with our research. We have a few other people who have expressed interest in collaborating as well.
The project is in very early stages: an incomplete rough draft, if you will. We’ll post more information about the database as we develop it further. In the meantime you might take a look at the featured items on the main page.