David C. Mayes, Ph.D.



Ph.D., History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2002

M.A., History, University of Richmond, 1996

B.A., History, University of Richmond, 1994


Broadly, I am interested in the role that religion played in the course of history in and around Europe. Coupled with that is a curiosity to recover historical processes crafted by rural communities and the critique these offer to the well-known narratives and interpretations, including those concerning the Reformations, Catholicism and Protestantism, the Holy Roman Empire, Christendom and Europe, the medieval and modern periods, toleration, and dechristianization. The two frame my research, which examines the religious aims advanced by peasant communities in German lands and the interplay of their initiatives with those of Imperial, territorial, and regional governance. I took up these subjects in a first book project (Communal Christianity, 2004), which covered the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. I expanded the scope in a second book project (Christian History in Rural Germany, 2023) by extending the primary source research forward into the twentieth century and the framework of analysis back to the fifth century. For the support that has generously funded these scholarly pursuits over the years I am grateful to the Center for Reformation Research, Fulbright Commission, Institut für Europäische Geschichte, National Endowment for the Humanities, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst and my home institution. Since 2004 I have had the pleasure to work at SHSU, where I enjoy offering the World History surveys as well as courses that range from Early Medieval Europe to Religion and Identity in Germany 1648-1914.



World History to 1500

World History since 1500

Medieval History

Renaissance Europe

The Bible & Reform in Europe

Europe in the Age of Absolutism and Revolution 1648-1815


Early Medieval Europe 300-1000

High & Late Medieval Europe 1000-1500

The Legacies of the Reformations

Persecution & Toleration in Early Modern Europe, 1300-1800

Religion & The Enlightenment

Peasant Europe, 13th-19th century

Selected Publications

Christian History in Rural Germany: Transcending the Catholic and Protestant Narratives. Studies in Central European Histories, vol. 72. Editors David M. Luebke & Celia Applegate. Leiden: Brill, 2023. 

Communal Christianity: The Life & Loss of a Peasant Vision in Early Modern Germany. Studies in Central European Histories, vol. 35. Editors Thomas A. Brady Jr. & Roger Chickering. Leiden: Brill, 2004.

(under review): “Simultaneum as a Weapon of Revenge: The Case of Frankenberg during the Evangelical Union, 1817-1862.” Leiden: Brill.

“Triplets: The Holy Roman Empire’s Birthing of Catholics, Lutherans, and Reformed in 1648.” In: Names and Naming in Early Modern Germany. Oxford: Berghahn, 2019. pp. 62-84.

“Discord Via Toleration: Clerical Conflict in the Post-Westphalian Imperial Territories.” In: Topographies of Tolerance and Intolerance: Responses to Religious Pluralism in Reformation Europe. Central European History Series, 64. Leiden: Brill, 2018. pp. 201-22.

“Religiöse Konflikte und kirchliche Organisation im Zeitalter Landgraf Carls.” In: Landgraf Carl (1654-1730): Fürstliches Planen und Handeln zwischen Innovation und Tradition, editors Holger Th. Gräf, Christoph Kampmann und Bernd Küster. Marburg: Historische Kommission für Hessen, 2017. pp. 123-31.

“Divided By Toleration: Paradoxical Effects of the 1648 Peace of Westphalia and Multiconfessionalism.” In Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte/Archive for Reformation History vol. 106 (2015): 290-313.

“Beyond Discipline: The Consistory in the Central Reformed Territories of the Holy Roman Empire.”  In Politics, Gender, and Belief. The Long-Term Impact of the Reformation. Essays in memory of Robert Kingdon. editors Amy Nelson Burnett, Kathleen M. Comerford and Karin Maag.  Droz, 2014. pp.155-177.

“Zwei Arten der Konfessionalisierung: der 1605er Marburger Kirchentumult und der 1705er Frankenberger Kirchhoftumult im Vergleich.”  In Jahrbuch der Hessischen Kirchengeschichtlichen Vereinigung, Bd. 64 (2013): 143-160.

“Kommunale Konfessionalisierung im bäuerlichen Oberhessen im Zeitalter des Landgrafen Karls, 1677-1730.” Zeitschrift des Vereins für Hessische Geschichte und Landeskunde 110 (2005): 129-158.

“Confessionalization and Central European Peasantry.”  Article on rural history for the Confessionalization Forum, H-German.  6 April 2005.

“Heretics or Nonconformists?  State Policies Toward the Anabaptists in Sixteenth-Century Hesse.”  Sixteenth Century Journal 32/4 (2001): 1003-1026.

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