Gillis J. Harp

Chair, Professor
All FacultyHistory

Contact Information
Phone: 724-458-2057

Gillis J. Harp

What is your educational background?

  • Ph.D. American History, University of Virginia, 1986
  • M.A. American History, University of Virginia, 1980
  • B.A. (First Class Honors) History, Carleton University, 1979

What are the main focuses of your research?

The main focuses of my research are American intellectual and cultural history, especially the 19th and early 20th centuries.

What specific courses or specialties do you teach?

I enjoy teaching the introductory U.S. history survey since it encourages me to be more of a generalist and keep up on the scholarly literature outside of my immediate field of specialization. Also, I have found teaching American Intellectual History very rewarding since it is a seminar course where we discuss in-depth a series of important primary source readings.

What is the most important piece of advice you give students to help them succeed?

Seek to glorify God with your whole person, including your mind. Your calling as a student in a Christian liberal arts college is a great blessing, especially in a wider culture that has become so anti-intellectual in spirit. I encourage my students to read critically, think logically, and write clearly. My assignments such as papers, oral presentations, and class discussion are all designed to promote these skills.

Selected Publications


  • American Protestants and Conservative Politics: A History (forthcoming, under contract with Oxford University Press).
  • Brahmin Prophet: Phillips Brooks and the Path of Liberal Protestantism (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003).
  • Positivist Republic: Auguste Comte and the Reconstruction of American Liberalism, 1865-1920 (University Park, PA: Penn State Press, 1995).


  • “Mainline Protestantism: Triumphant but Sidelined,” Reviews in American History 42 (2014).
  • “Reconsidering the Liberal Captivity of American Evangelicalism,” Christian Scholar’s Review 41 (Fall, 2011).
  • “Traditionalist Dissent: The Reorientation of American Conservatism, 1865-1900,” Modern Intellectual History 5 (2008).
  • “Determinism or Democracy? The Marxisms of Eduard Bernstein and Sidney Hook,” History of European Ideas 25 (1999).
  • “’We cannot spare you’: Phillips Brooks’s Break with the Evangelical Party, 1859-1873,” Church History 68 (1999).
  • “The Young Phillips Brooks: A Reassessment,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 49 (1998).
  • “Patrician Partisans: New York in the House of Representatives, 1789-1803,” Canadian Journal of History 29 (1994).
  • “The Church of Humanity: New York's Worshipping Positivists,” Church History 60 (1991).
  • “’A Republic of Social Industrialism,’ The Reform Thought of T.B. Wakeman,” Hayes Historical Journal: A Journal of the Gilded Age 9 (1991).

Is there any additional personal experience you would like to share?

I taught for 11 years in Canada at McGill University in Montreal and at Acadia University in Nova Scotia (among other universities). I had long sought to find a permanent appointment at a Christian college and was delighted to accept the offer from Grove City College back in 1999.