In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Dissertation Abstracts
Institution Title Page
Baylor University Personalism and Popular Genres: American Catholic Fiction after Vatican II 82
The Catholic University of America An Analysis of the Portrayal of Catholicism on Prime-Time Network Entertainment Television, 1950-1980 82
The Catholic University of America Lives as Revelatory Texts: Constructing a Spiritual Biography of Arleen McCarty Hynes, O.S.B. 83
Northwestern University Authentically Black and Truly Catholic: African American Catholics in Chicago from Great Migrations to Black Power 84
Saint Louis University From “Supernaturalizing” to Liberation: The Maryknoll Sisters in Nicaragua, 1945-1975 85
Saint Louis University Anti-Catholic America: Nativism and Religious Freedom in the Antebellum West 85
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Qualities of Lasallian Higher Education 86
Texas Christian University By Prayer and Petition: The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament’s Mission of Evangelization and Americanization, 1891-1935 87
University of California (Santa Cruz) Novices, Nuns, and Colegio Girls: The Adrian Dominican Sisters in the U.S. and Dominican Republic, 1933-61 87
The University of Chicago Women and the Word: Gender, Print, and Catholic Identity in Nineteenth-Century America. 88
University of Delaware The Worlds of Catholic Laywomen in the Nineteenth Century: Belief and Behavior 88
University of Windsor The Identity of American Catholic Women Religious: A Qualitative Study of Identity Narratives in an American Apostolic Religious Community 89

We include here selected dissertation abstracts in the fields of U.S. Catholic history, sociology, theology, architecture, art, cinema, music, popular movements, and related areas that we believe our readers will find to be of particular interest. Those interested in submitting an abstract for possible publication in the dissertation section of American Catholic Studies should do so electronically to in Microsoft Word format. [End Page 81]


Kilpatrick, Nathan, Personalism and Popular Genres: American Catholic Fiction after Vatican II. Baylor University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2014. 3621488.

This dissertation explores the Catholic literary landscape in America after the Second Vatican Council using the framework of former Pope John Paul II’s Thomistic personalism as a theological correction to the aesthetic problem of overly reductive, formulaic fiction of popular genres such as the Western. From within this framework, this dissertation argues that post-Vatican II American Catholics revise and employ popular forms of literature as a means to articulating foundational premises of Christian orthodoxy in a way that is fundamentally different from their Catholic predecessors, Flannery O’Connor or Walker Percy. Indeed, the works by novelists Ron Hansen and Alice McDermott demonstrate a rich and vibrant experience of the faith as it is lived, and their method of positing the truthfulness of Catholicism is to create complex, dynamic characters who reveal the fundamental goodness of each human being when considered in light of Christian teachings and who also disrupt the rigidity of formulaic popular genres. In doing so, these novelists reflect a post-Vatican II concern for the laity and its vernacular expressions that deviates but maintains connections to the larger Catholic tradition. Therefore, this work offers an argument on behalf of contemporary literature that responds to the postmodern aesthetics and modes of literature dominant in discussions of contemporary fiction in complex ways: neither rejecting the technical and methodological insight of aesthetic and philosophical postmodernism, these novels resist the recourse to formalized nothingness that contemporary critics argue is the basis for postmodern religious fiction. The vision of Catholicism more precisely, and Christianity more generally, which emerges from these authors’ works exhibits a careful attentiveness to the particular ecclesial, political, and aesthetic crossroads of the contemporary situation and a faithful reaction to the encroaching nothingness that lifts up small but substantial, tenuous yet tenacious and positive though critical affirmations of the dignity of human beings, created by God and living in communities of the committed, faithful few.


Gildemeister, Christopher, An Analysis of the Portrayal of Catholicism on Prime-Time Network Entertainment Television, 1950-1980. The Catholic University of America, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2014. 3626637.

Representations in popular culture entertainment both reflect popular thought about various subjects, and simultaneously influence perceptions of those same subjects. This dissertation proposes a twofold thesis: firstly, that the representation of the Catholic priest...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 81-89
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.