Tim Fehler grew up in rural northern Illinois before moving to Alabama for high school. After studying math and history at Baylor University, he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Renaissance and Reformation history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He joined Furman’s history department in 1995, and for six years he also directed Furman’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Internships (overseeing Furman faculty's national recognition for our Campus-wide Undergraduate Research Accomplishments "AURA" by CUR in 2016). His research has focused particularly on questions of poverty and social welfare as well as religious persecution, co-existence, and migration in early modern Europe. During more than two decades of teaching at Furman, Tim has directed several study away programs in Europe and the Mediterranean, most recently the semester-long program in Central Europe entitled “Repression, Resistance, and Remembrance.” His research also takes him to the archives in and around northern Germany, where he and his family have lived for four years in the past couple decades.  His most recent book was co-authored with his Furman student collaborator.

“My passion for history includes an emphasis on the relationship between ideals and lived experiences. ‘History’ is not a mere listing of past events. Rather, the purpose of reading sources is for us to ground our engagement with the actual, often complicated, experiences and perspectives of people in a variety of different contexts. Careful analysis allows us to develop an empathetic understanding of what happened to other people, what they did, why they (re)acted in that way, and whether those actions meshed with or contradicted articulated beliefs or ideas.”​

Name Title Description


First World War

An exploration of World War I -- the war itself as well as its impact on society and culture in Europe, the United States and the rest of the world.


Life Writing

This seminar uses autobiography as a conduit to help students explore key developments in history and their own evolving sense of self. By reading a diverse group of autobiographical authors-male/female, white, African-American, Native-American, Hispanic, prominent/obscure, rich/poor-students will use the self-referential content of life writing to explore the dynamics of American history and its narrative nature while constructing their own life story over the course of the semester.


Tudor-Stuart Texts

The era saw significant social changes alongside political & religious revolutions. Because the rise of print culture enabled a pulp press, popular polemics, regular news reporting, and a famous Renaissance" in literary and dramatic works that recorded these changes


Medieval Europe

European social, intellectual, political, cultural, and religious developments from the break up of the Roman Empire (c.500) to the Renaissance (c.1450).


Early Modern Europe

The European social, intellectual, political, cultural, and religious developments from the era of Renaissance and Reformation through the Age of Absolutism. Key themes include: the Italian Renaissance, voyages of exploration, colonialism, printing press, Protestant and Catholic reformations, Scientific Revolution, religious wars, absolutism and constitutionalism, and the witch craze.


Modern Europe

The history of Europe from the time of the Enlightenment to the present. Major themes include: the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, nationalism, socialism, liberalism, imperialism, the World Wars, fascism and communism, the Holocaust, post-WWII reconstruction and the Cold War, decolonization, citizenship, immigration, the end of communism, market integration, a common currency, and the evolution of the European Union, and globalization.


European Reformations

European history in an age of evolving religious ideologies and increased interaction with the non-European world. Major themes include: matters of religious content, political, cultural, intellectual, and social history.


Germany and the 30 Years' War

A study of the Thirty Years' War, which devastated early modern Germany, emerged out of particular religious/political constellations of the Holy Roman Empire but was shaped by complex European foreign policy and had long-term impact on European diplomacy.


Tudor-Stuart England

Analysis of the period that witnessed England's emergence as a major European power. Emphasis on political, religious, constitutional, foreign policy, and socio-economic transformations of this transitional period.


Episodes in British History

Sustained historical analysis of a particular event or theme relating to the British Isles. Possible topics include Anglo-Saxon Riddles, Trial of Charles I, Scottish wars, Elizabeth I vs. Philip II, Irish conquests, Bridewell and Bedlam - Prisons and the Mad, Whigs & Tories, Habeas Corpus, London's Apocalypticism, Cornwallis in India and America, the Street and the Sewer in Victorian England, Cultural History of Jack the Ripper, Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists, the Blitz, Brit Rock and Postwar Social Rebellion, Thatcher's Multicultural Britain.


Movements in History

In-depth historical analysis of a social, cultural, economic, political, religious, technological, or medical movement in history. Topics vary.


Empire and Imperialism

An in-depth exploration and historical analysis of the political, social, economic, cultural, and military background of a particular empire or imperialist power in world history. Topics vary.


Wars, Rebellions & Revolutions

An in-depth exploration and historical analysis of the political, social, economic, cultural, and military background of a particular period of warfare, rebellion, or revolution in world history. Topics will vary.


Urban History

In-depth historical analysis of cultural, economic, political, religious, technological, medical, & spatial factors intersecting at particular periods of urban development. Topics will vary.


500 Years Martin Luther

of the political, social, economic, cultural, and military background of a particular period of warfare, rebellion, or revolution in world history. Topics will vary.


Social Hst of Erly Mdrn Europe

Major topics in this social history of early modern Europe will include women and the family, poverty and social welfare, disease and health care, criminality and punishment. Special attention will be given to experiences on the margins" of society."


Interpreting the Past

The historian's craft and how history scholars think about and interpret the past. Exploration of topics, questions and methodologies used to write about history through reading historical works from a variety of times and places.


Senior Seminar in History

A required course for all majors. Discussion-based meetings will explore a specific historical topic and the related historiography. Students will conceive, design, and execute their own research project connected to the main topic of the seminar. All seminars include an assignment encouraging students to integrate and to reflect upon their varied classroom, travel study, and internship experiences over the course of the major.


History of Ideas in Context II

Texts and ideas from a variety of disciplines and genres (including the humanities, fine arts, and political philosophy) in both Western and non-Western cultural contexts. Topics will vary.


Humanities Capstone Symposium

Second semester of year-long capstone experience for the Humanities Interdisciplinary Minor, meeting weekly. Having completed HUM-450, students will prepare and present their own research, and organize a concluding academic conference.


Pathways 1

This course is designed to help students transition to college and begin creating their individualized pathway with guidance from an academic advisor. Students will engage in regular self-reflection and guided discussion about topics relevant to the first-year experience.


Summer Undergraduate Research


Selected Other Publications

  • "Coexistence and Confessionalization: Emden's Topography of Religious Pluralism," in Topographies of Tolerance and Intolerance: Responses to Religious Pluralism in Reformation Europe, edited by Marjorie Elizabeth Plummer and Victoria Christman, 78-105 (Leiden: Brill, 2018).
  • "Victims as Actors: Consistories," in Judging Faith, Punishing Sin: Inquisitions and Consistories in the Early Modern World, edited by Charles H. Parker and Gretchen Starr-LeBeau, 180-192 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017).
  • Articles "East Frisia," "Emden," "Emser, Jerome," and "Social Ministry," in Encyclopedia of Martin Luther and the Reformation, edited by Mark Lamport, vol. 1, 220-222, 235-238, 239-240; vol. 2, 716-717 (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017).
  • "Creating Boundaries in Emden, Germany: Confession, Language, Poor Relief, and Spaces of the Dutch Reformed Refugees," in Early Modern Ethnic and Religious Communities in Exile, edited by Yosef Kaplan, 314-330 (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017).
  • "Armenfürsorge und die Entwicklung der Informations- und Unterstützungsnetzwerke in und zwischen reformierten Exilgemeinden," in Praktiken der Frühen Neuzeit. Akteure - Handlungen - Artefakte, edited by Arndt Brendecke, 245-255 (Cologne: Böhlau Verlag, 2015).
  • "Pastors and the Poor in 16th-century Calvinist Emden, Germany," in Agir pour l'Église: Ministères et charges ecclésiastiques dans les églises réformées (XVIe-XIXe), edited by Didier Poton and Raymond A. Mentzer, 43-56 (Paris: Les Indes savantes, 2014).
  • "Calvinism and Anabaptism around Emden: Disputation and Discipline," in Politics, Gender, and Belief: The Long-Term Impact of the Reformation, edited by Amy Nelson Burnett, et al, 179-205 (Geneva: Droz, 2014).
  • "Coping with Poverty: Dutch Reformed Exiles in Emden, Germany," in Religious Diaspora in Early Modern Europe, edited by T. Fehler, G. Kroeker, et al., 121-135 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2013).
  • "Le diaconat inconnu de l'Emden réformée: le consistoire et la découverte des « diacres des domestiques de la foy »" in Les œuvres protestantes en Europe, edited by Céline Borello, 207-219 (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2013).
  • "Conflict and Compromise in International Calvinism: Ysbrand Trabius Balck's Pastoral Mediations in Exile and Beyond," Reformation and Renaissance Review 10: 3 (2008): 291-313.

Recent Presentations & Invited Talks

  • "Between Good Works and Good 'Polizei': The Impact of Protestantism on Social Welfare in the Case of Calvinist Emden" in session At the Origins of Welfare: Institutions and Practices of Socail Assistance in Europe (14th-19th Centuries, XVIII World Economic History Conference, Boston, August 2018

  • “Refugee Widows, Mothers, and Children: Immigrant Families in the Dutch Revolt,” Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Milwaukee, October 2017

  • ​"Piety, Politics, and Print: The Early Protestant Reformation" and "The Radical Reformation: Co-existence, Persecution, and Martyrdom" lectures for Reformation 500​ series at USC-Upstate, September/October 2017

  • "'These Troubled and Distracted Times': Prodigies, Prognostication, and Christian Astrology during the English Revolution," co-presented with Abigail Hartman at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Bruges, Belgium, August 2016.
  • "A Friendly Discussion on Baptism?: Bernhard Bowu and Reformed Responses to Anabaptists in East Frisia" and "A Dutch Pastoral Exhortation in Exile" as Roundtable participant: Defining Religious Exile in Early Modern Europe: Inner and Outer Exiles, at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Vancouver, October 2015.
  • "Creating Boundaries in Emden, Germany: Spaces, Confession, Language, and Poor Relief of the Dutch Reformed Refugees" at the "Early Modern Ethnic and Religious Communities in Exile" Conference, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, April 2015.
  • "Co-existence and Confessionalization: Emden's Topography of Religious Pluralism" and "Roundtable on Teaching Toleration" at the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, New Orleans, October 2014.
  • Plenary speaker at the Ostfriesland Genealogical Society of America 2014 meeting.
  • "Armenfürsorge und die Entwicklung der Informations- und Unterstützungsnetzwerke in und zwischen reformierten Exilgemeinden," in panel on "Religiöser Praxis im Exil" at the conference of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft "Frühe Neuzeit" im Verband der Historiker und Historikerinnen Deutschlands, Munich, 12-14 September 2013.
  • "Menso Alting und die Armenfürsorge in Emden," public lecture in Emden, Germany, as concluding keynote for exhibition Menso Alting und seine Zeit, 7 March 2013.
  • "'What Business are My Deeds to the Consistory?': Discipline and Agency before Reformed Consistories," Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Cincinnati, October 2012.
  • "Responses to Poverty in the Immigrant Communities during the Dutch Revolt of the 16th Century," at the conference Early Modern Migrations: Exiles, Expulsion, & Religious Refugees, 1400–1700, Victoria College in the University of Toronto, 19–21 April 2012.
  • "Calvinism and Anabaptism around Emden: Disputation and Discipline," Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Ft. Worth, October 2011.
  • NEH Summer Seminar participant in "Persecution, Toleration, Co-Existence: Early Modern Responses to Religious Pluralism" (4 weeks, Calvin College, 2013).
  • Mellon Grant for Faculty Career Enhancement to organize workshops on "Teaching Religion and Global Contact in the Medieval and Early Modern World" (2011-12 at Furman and Denison).
  • Princeton Review's The Best 300 Professors (Random House, 2012), 172-3.
  • Research fellowships include: Gerhard ten Doornkaat Koolmann Stiftung for cultural studies in East Frisia, Johannes a Lasco Bibliothek in Emden, Institut für Europäische Geschichte in Mainz, Fulbright Commission.
  • Furman's annual award for Meritorious Teaching (2001).
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