Kyle T. Jantzen

 Kyle T. Jantzen
Address150 Ambrose Circle S.W.
Calgary, AB

Associate Professor of History, Ambrose Seminary

B.A., University of Saskatchewan,
M.A., ,
Ph.D., McGill University,

After completing a B.A. (high honours) in history at the University of Saskatchewan, I remained in Saskatoon to study for an M.A. degree in history under Dr. Peter Bietenholz, an eminent Erasmus scholar. My M.A. thesis (Guilds and reformation: Basel in the 1520s) examined the relationship between the religious and political aspects of reform in the Swiss city of Basel, tracing events from the infiltration of Lutheran ideas into local monasteries and churches through the heated and periodically violent debates around the idea of church reform to the eventual victory (at cannon point!) of the Reformation in Basel.

I went on to earn a Ph.D. in history at McGill University, under the guidance of Dr. Peter Hoffmann, F.R.S.C., a leading authority on the German Resistance to Hitler. In my dissertation, I examined the relationship between religion and nationalism in National Socialist Germany “from the bottom up,” through the eyes of pastors and parishioners in three different regions of Germany. Doing that meant focusing on some different events and issues than normally considered in the history of this period: pastors and German nationalism, parish life under National Socialism, pastoral appointments as a battleground in the so-called “German Church Struggle,” church responses to Nazi racial policy, and the ins and outs of local church politics during the time of the Third Reich. All this is now published in my book: Faith and Fatherland: Parish Politics in Hitler’s Germany (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008). You can see what other scholars are saying about it at the Association of Contemporary Church Historians or at H-German (part of H-Net, the Humanities and Social Sciences Online).

I now teach various aspects of European, world, and religious history. One of my favourite (though difficult) courses to teach is on the history of antisemitism and the Holocaust. I grew interested in this field not only through my Ph.D. research on the German churches, but also through a two-week summer institute on the Holocaust and Jewish civilization that I participated in at Northwestern University, way back in 1999. My goal in the course is to introduce students to the long and complex history of antisemitism andto help them understand the detailed process through which Hitler and his Nazi regime moved from policies of persecution to an organized quest to annihilate the Jews of Europe. Out of that, I’m convinced students will also gain a greater understanding of the ways in which political extremism operates in our world today, complete with policies of violence, marginalization, and even so-called ethnic cleansing. I also hope thatthey and I will grow in our empathy for and responsiveness to persecuted peoples.

Recently, I’ve also begun to do a little research in the field of Holocaust history. In 2007, I was invited to join a group of scholars from the United States and Britain for a two-week summer research workshop on “American Religious Responses to Kristallnacht,” hosted by the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. We were considering the way that Jews, Catholics, and Protestants all reacted to the terrible antisemitic pogrom of November 1938, when synagogues throughout Germany were burnt down, Jewish shop-windows were smashed, Jewish homes were invaded, and roughly 30,000 Jewish men were rounded up and placed in concentration camps. I’m currently working on a web project from that research. It’s a collection of transcripts from radio broadcasts of protest speeches, together with some historical background and commentary. Right now, the working title is Anti-Nazi Radio: Allied Religious Broadcasts in the Wake of Kristallnacht.

Beyond that, I love to give historical presentations in middle schools and high schools, and for church groups. Most especially, I have enjoyed thinking about and discussing the historical background to church-state relations in the western world, as a speaker in the Manning Centre for Building Democracy “Faith-Political Interface” seminars. You can read a published version of these talks here.

Outside of academics, I’m married to Colleen, and we have four school-aged kids. I love sports of all kinds (football, hockey, Euro soccer, etc.), driving around in my 1977 Porsche 924 (not fast, but cool!), and serving actively in our church home at High River Alliance Church and on one of the town boards.

Areas of Interest

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