Religion professor presents at history conference

Dr. John Hubers, assistant professor of religion and director of global education at Northwestern College, presented a paper at the 60th annual Missouri Valley History Conference in Omaha, Neb., March 2–4.

Hubers’ paper, “Making Saints: The Role of Heroic Memoirs in Shaping Early Protestant Missionary Identity,” focused on how hero worship impacted early Protestant American missionary work. “My paper explored the impact of heroic missionary figures on the first generation of American missionaries, particularly the Rev. Pliny Fisk, who was the first American missionary to the Middle East,” says Hubers. “I’m interested in how his veneration, even adulation, of the early American missionary icon David Brainerd may have made it difficult for him to develop positive relationships with his Middle Eastern neighbors.”

The conference’s theme was “Remembering and Being Remembered: Monuments, Memorials and Legacies.” Participant historians were encouraged to think critically about whether the way individuals and societies memorialize the past is shaped by the present, or if memory of the past influences the behaviors of today.

Founded and organized by the history department at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, the conference is the longest standing professional gathering of historians in the region. By encompassing all time periods in history, from the classical era to the modern, the conference encourages scholars to exchange ideas and advance historical knowledge.

A member of Northwestern’s faculty since 2010, Hubers has 13 years of experience living in the Middle East, initially teaching English before serving as a pastor of congregations in Oman and Bahrain. After returning to the United States, he pastored a Reformed Church in America congregation on the campus of the University of Michigan followed by a position with the RCA global mission program supervising mission programs in the Middle East and South Asia.

A graduate of Northwestern College, Hubers earned a Master of Divinity degree from New Brunswick Theological Seminary. He went on to earn a master’s degree in theology and a doctorate in world Christianity and global mission from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.