Gary Waite   2005 University Research Scholar

Since his appointment to UNB in 1987, Dr. Gary Waite has distinguished himself by his productive scholarship.  The numbers tell the story:  four major scholarly books in 13 years; just over $55,000 in external research funding; 22 refereed articles in prestigious journals and innumerable chapters in scholarly book collections, academic translations, and conference presentations.  The record is more remarkable because Dr. Waite has achieved this while also accumulating an outstanding record of service and distinguishing himself as one of the Faculty of Arts' most popular and talented teachers.

His research deals with the radical religious Reformation in the Netherlands and in central and northern Europe in the 16th century; with the popular beliefs of that age concerning devils, witches, demons, and the supernatural; and with the horrors of the religious persecutions and witch-trials that were so central a part of sixteenth-century life.  His work in this field began with his 1990 study on David Joris and Dutch Anabaptism; and it has grown yearly bolder in approach and wider in scope, so that his most recent work of 2003, Heresy, Magic, and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe, offers nothing less than a reassessment of the entire field.  His latest book manuscript, currently under review by University of Toronto Press, draws the connections between the persecution of witches and the persecution of Anabaptists.  The book will make a major contribution to European witchcraft studies — a well-trodden field in historical scholarship on which only truly innovative historians are still able to make a mark.

Dr. Waite's scholarship has been broad and interdisciplinary in focus.  His book on the Dutch Chambers of Rhetoric, published in 2000, broke new ground by examining the many obscure religious plays performed by these acting troops to determine the popular religious attitudes of the period.  His focus on popular literary sources, spectacle, and representation typifies his mastery of the most exciting new approaches in the field of cultural history.

Dr. Waite has been recognized in Europe for his scholarly achievement.  He has forged important links with both Dutch historians and with the scholarly Mennonite Community.  His recent election as a Life Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge, is testimony to his growing stature in the field of Early Modern cultural history.

Presented by Peter Kent

Acting Dean of Arts

April 7, 2005