Named Professorships

Thomas Tweed

Thomas Tweed

W. Harold and Martha Welch Professor of American Studies

Thomas A. Tweed holds the Harold and Martha Welch Endowed Chair in American Studies and has a joint appointment in History. He is also Faculty Fellow in the Institute of Latino Studies and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. He previously taught at the University of Texas, the University of Miami, and the University of North Carolina, where he won an award for undergraduate teaching and was Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, Zachary Smith Distinguished Professor, and Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences.

Tweed’s historical, ethnographic, and theoretical research, which includes six books and a six-volume series of historical documents, has been supported by several grants and fellowships, including three from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He edited Retelling U.S. Religious History and co-edited Asian Religions in America: A Documentary History, which Choice named an “outstanding academic book.” He also wrote The American Encounter with Buddhism, 1844-1912: Victorian Culture and the Limits of Dissent and Our Lady of the Exile: Diasporic Religion at a Cuban Catholic Shrine in Miami, which won the American Academy of Religion’s book award. Tweed’s Crossing and Dwelling: A Theory of Religion was published by Harvard University Press in 2006, and his most recent book is an historical study of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, which appeared in 2011 as “America’s Church”: The National Shrine and Catholic Presence in the Nation’s Capital, 1917-1997. America’s Church also received the book award given by the American Academy of Religion. Tweed has served as the president of the American Society for the Study of Religion, and is currently serving as president of the American Academy of Religion, the largest professional organization for scholars of religion in the world. 

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W. Harold Welch (’24) was an executive board member of the New York Telephone Company. His widow, Martha, who made her career in the New York City school system, established this professorship, which has attracted a number of distinguished writers and scholars to campus.