CC Faculty News

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Gretchen Buggeln

Gretchen Buggeln, associate professor of art history and humanities in Christ College, has always been drawn to the ways an object can tell a story. While pursuing her undergraduate studies in New Hampshire, Buggeln rode her bike around the local area and was drawn to the ever-present farmhouses and older buildings surrounding her campus. She started off by studying early American material culture but became much more interested in religious history when searching for a dissertation topic in her PhD program, “I realized I could use my material culture methods to look at church architecture and write something that was essentially social and cultural history through the lens of buildings and the worlds that surrounded them” Buggeln said. “Buildings interest me because they truly say things about the people that built and used them.”

Buggeln’s new book, The Suburban Church: Modernism and Community in Postwar
America (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015) focuses on the modern style of
architecture that began to sweep through parishes in the Midwest following World War II. The inspiration for this nine-year project came from her first year teaching at Valparaiso University.

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Tal Howard

Thomas Albert (Tal) Howard has been named to the Richard and Phyllis Duesenberg Chair in Christian Ethics at Valparaiso University, and has affiliated with Christ College as professor of history and the humanities. Alumni might remember him teaching as a Lilly Fellow on campus 1997-99. This fall he is teaching a new CC seminar, “What Is the Good Life? Moral Inquiry before the Modern Age.”

Howard returns to Valparaiso from Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts, where he was associate professor of history. He was director of two distinctive programs at Gordon: the
Jerusalem & Athens Forum, an honors program in the history of Christian thought and
literature; and Critical Loyalty: Christian Vocation at Gordon College, a five-year project funded by the Lilly Endowment.

Professor Howard completed his MA (1992) and PhD (1996) at the University of Virginia, concentrating in modern European intellectual and religious history. He is the author of Religion and the Rise of Historicism (Cambridge, 2000) and Protestant Theology and the Making of the Modern German University (Oxford, 2006). This summer, he and Mark A. Noll (University of Notre Dame) published an edited volume, entitled Protestantism after 500 Years (Oxford University Press, 2016).

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Matthew Puffer

Matthew Puffer received a BS in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University, an MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his PhD in Religious Studies (Theology, Ethics, and Culture) from the University of Virginia. Prior to joining the Christ College faculty he was a Catherine of Siena Fellow in the Ethics Program at Villanova University and a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. His research and teaching explore competing normative visions of the human person, especially rival versions of the imago dei and human dignity and their implications for issues in biomedical, economic, environmental, and war and peace ethics. He is currently working on a monograph that examines Augustine’s understanding of the imago dei as it develops across a half-century of letters, sermons, and treatises. Puffer co-edited Comparative Religious Ethics: Critical Concepts in Religious Studies and has published in Modern Theology, the International Journal of Systematic Theology, the Journal of Religious Ethics, the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, and in edited volumes. He is
teaching in the CC Freshman Program and Christian Tradition during his first year at
Valparaiso University.