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Nicholas Rademacher, PhD

Chair and Professor of Religious Studies
Coordinator of the Social Justice Minor

Nicholas Rademacher, PhD, is Chair of the Department of Religious Studies. He presents and publishes in the areas of Catholic social thought and practice, interfaith dialogue, and educating for peace and justice. 

Dr. Rademacher is the author of Paul Hanly Furfey: Priest, Scientist and Social Reformer (Fordham University Press, 2017). He co-edited American Catholicism in the 21st Century: Crisis, Crossroads or Renewal (Orbis, 2018) with Benjamin Peters, PhD (University of St. Joseph, CT) and A Realist's Church: Essays in Honor of Joseph A. Komonchak (Orbis, 2015) with Dr. Christopher Denny (St. John's University, NY) and Patrick Hayes, PhD (Redemptorist Archivist, Philadelphia).

In his courses, Rademacher and his students collaborate with community partners and participate in discussions and activities around faith, justice, and the common good. In 2012, this collaboration with the Coordinated Homeless Outreach Center (CHOC) of Norristown and the Norristown Community House was awarded the “Recovery and Resiliency Award” from the Montgomery County Department of Health.

In 2007, Rademacher worked with Darryl Mace, PhD (History), and Nancy Watterson, PhD (American Studies), to develop the Voices of Justice Living and Learning Community, a first-year experience designed to provide an interdisciplinary learning experience to engage students in dialogue-across-difference and to promote civic engagement. The trio co-authors and co-presents on civic engagement and engaged pedagogy.

In 2017, Rademacher formed the interfaith learning community, Common Grounds, with Ray Ward, PhD (Director, Wolfington Center) and Lisa Ratmansky. This learning community is focused on teaching interfaith literacy and practice in the context of food justice.

He has long been involved in mission and identity work at the university. Since 2011, he has served on the leadership team of a faculty mission academy that brings together faculty to deepen understanding of the university's mission and to facilitate dialogue about how it can be integrated across the university. He has served on task forces charged with revising the mission statement and the Catholic identity statement. In 2016-2017, with the support of a Teagle-funded Interfaith and Pre-Professional Curricular Grant from the Interfaith Youth Core, he led an interdisciplinary faculty learning community through the development of an interfaith course sequence in the Social Justice Minor.

Rademacher is co-editor of American Catholic Studies and co-founder and co-Executive Editor of Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice.

He serves as the Vice-President of the American Catholic Historical Society and served for two terms as Secretary of the Board of Directors for the College Theology Society. He also served as a member of the historical commission for the cause for canonization of Fr. William Atkinson, OSA.

Dr. Rademacher earned master’s and doctorate degrees in religion and culture from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

Areas of Expertise

American Catholic studies; Catholic social thought and practice; relationship between the church and the world; interfaith dialogue; development and diversity of radical Catholic movements in North America; educating for peace and justice; collaboration among students, faculty across disciplines, and community partners



2017 Paul Hanly Furfey: Priest, Scientist, Social Reformer. Fordham University Press. 

2018 American Catholicism in the Twenty-first Century: Crisis, Crossroads, or Renewal?, with Benjamin Peters. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Press. 

2015 A Realist’s Church: Essays in Honor of Joseph A. Komonchak, with Christopher Denny and Patrick Hayes. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Press.

Articles and Book Chapters: 

Anticipated 2020. “Contemplation and Action in the Development of a Lay Vocation in Pre-Conciliar U.S. Catholicism.” Chapter in Full, Conscious and Active: Lay Participation in the Church’s Dialogue with the World, edited by Donna L. Orsuto and Robert S. White. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 

Anticipated 2020. “Prayer and Work in the City and on the Land: Ecological Consciousness among 20th Century Radical Catholics.” Chapter in Working Alternatives, edited by Christine Hinze and John Seitz. New York, Fordham University Press. 

2018 “Dorothy Day, Religion, and the Left.” Chapter in The Religious Left in Modern America: Doorkeepers of a Radical Faith, edited by Leilah Danielson, Marian Mollin, and Douglas Rossinow. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

2018 “Striving for Mission Integration: Catholic Identity, Social Justice, and Interfaith Inclusivity.” Chapter in Intersections: Faith(s), Church and the Academy, edited by Mark Hanshaw and Tim Moore. Nashville, TN: General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. 

2016 “Enhancing Learning through Community-Based Partnership,” with Alia Sheety. Chapter in University Partnerships for International Development, edited by Patrick Blessinger and Barbara Cozza. Bingley, West Yorkshire, England: Emerald Group Publishing. 

2015 “Religious Diversity, Civic Engagement and Community-Engaged Pedagogy: Forging Bonds of Solidarity through Interfaith Dialogue.” Chapter in Teaching Civic Engagement in the Religion Classroom, edited by Forrest Clingerman and Reid Locklin. AAR Teaching Religious Studies Series, Oxford University Press. 

2015 “Between Independence and Obedience: Catherine de Hueck’s Struggle to Establish Friendship House as a Lay Apostolate for Social Justice in the Archdiocese of Toronto, 1931-1936.” Chapter in A Realist’s Church: Essays in Honor of Joseph A. Komonchak, edited by Christopher Denny, Patrick Hayes, and Nicholas Rademacher. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis. 

2015 “Inquiry-Based Learning as Foundational Pedagogical Tool for Critical Examination of Social Justice in Theory and Action,” with Alia Sheety. Chapter in Inquiry-Based Learning for Multidisciplinary Programs: A Conceptual and Practical Resource for Educators, edited by Patrick Blessinger and John M. Carfora. Bingley, West Yorkshire, England: Emerald Group Publishing. 

2015 “Common Ground through Dialogue: Creating Civic Dispositions,” with Darryl Mace and Nancy Watterson. Chapter in Sage Sourcebook for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, edited by Omobolada Delano-Oriaran, Marguerite W. Penick-Parks, and Suzanne Fondrie. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications. 

2014 “‘Allow me to disappear … in the fetid slums’: Catherine de Hueck, Catholic Action, and the Growing End of Catholic Radicalism,” U.S. Catholic Historian 32:3 (Summer): 71-100. 

2012 “Foregrounding Relationships: Using Deliberative Dialogue and Engaged Justice in a Living and Learning Community,” with Nancy Watterson and Darryl Mace. Journal of College and Character 13:2 (May).  http://journals.naspa.org/jcc/vol13/iss2/3/

2009 “‘To Relate the Eucharist to Real Living’: Mother Teresa and Dorothy Day at the 41st International Eucharistic Congress, Philadelphia, PA,” U.S. Catholic Historian 27:4 (Fall): 59-72. 

2007 “Paul Hanly Furfey and the Social Sciences: Liberal, Radical, and Revolutionary,” U.S. Catholic Historian 25:4 (Fall): 23-43.


Within the last five years:  

2019 “Redemptorists and Race in Orangeburg, South Carolina,” The North American Institute for Redemptorist Historical Studies, Redemptorist History Conference VIII, Oconomowoc, WI.  

2019 “A Little Cosmos of the Mystical Body: Catholic Lay Women Counter Racism in Chicago at Mid-Century.” Paper Presented at the American Catholic Historical Society Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL. 

2018 “Precursors to 1968 and Beyond: Resources from the Radical Catholic Tradition to Oppose Racism, Militarism, and Materialism.” Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the College Theology Society, St. Paul, MN.

2017 “Catholics, Sociology, and Social Reform in the United States, 1897-1974.” Paper Presented at the Historians of the Twentieth Century United States Annual Conference, Dublin, Ireland. 

2016 “Rethinking Resistance: Varieties of Dissent and Patterns of Solidarity among U.S. Catholics.” Paper Presented at Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, San Antonio, TX. 

2016 “Bending Over the Abyss: The Intersection of Contemplation and Action in the Development of Lay Vocations in Pre-Conciliar Catholicism.” Paper Presented at the Full, Conscious and Active: Lay Participation in the Church’s Dialogue with the World Conference. Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas, Rome, Italy. 

2016 “Teaching Interfaith Cooperation,” with Dr. Barbara McGraw, co-facilitated session at the Interfaith Cooperation: Leadership Practices at Catholic Colleges and Universities Pre-Conference Institute of the Association of Catholic Colleges Universities Annual Meeting, Washington, DC. 

2015 “Panel Discussion of Anne Butler’s Book, Across God’s Frontiers: Catholic Sisters in the American West, 1850-1920.” Invited Panelist. American Catholic Life and Thought Section, the Annual Meeting of the College Theology Society, Portland, OR. 

2015 “Disrupting Assumptions: Mary Elizabeth Walsh’s Integration of Secular and Religious Strategies for Racial Justice at Midcentury.” Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Atlanta, GA. 

2015 “Ecology, Ecumenism and Social Action in an Urban Landscape: The Legacy of American Catholic Agrarianism among Evangelicals and Women Religious.” Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the College Theology Society, Portland, OR. 

2015 “Competing Claims of Authority? The Rise and Fall of Catherine de Hueck’s Friendship House Movement in the Archdiocese of Toronto.” Paper Presented at the American Catholic Historical Association Annual Meeting, New York City. 


Awards and Recognition

2019 Cushwa Center Travel Grant, “Catholic Women and Race in the United States, 1931-1965,” Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, University of Notre Dame. 

2019 Buzzalino Family Faculty Scholars Award: “Radical Catholics, Racial Justice, and Religious Pluralism,” Cabrini University. 

2016 IFYC Interfaith and Pre-Professional Curricular Grant, Teagle-funded, awarded June 2016 for grant period July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017.

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