Joel Harrison is a PhD candidate in Theology. His work is focused on the relationship between theology and social theory at the turn of the 20th century in Germany and theory and method in the early history of religious studies. His dissertation, Between Normativity and History: Ernst Troeltsch's Mystic Type and the Creative Agency of Values, reads the "mystic type" in Troeltsch's theological sociology of the Church as a way of understanding his later work in the philosophy of history, particularly his solution to the problem of history and normativity. The dissertation argues that the "mystic type" can be understood philosophically, rather than historically or sociologically, and that a philosophical account of Troeltsch's mystic sheds new light on how he understands the development of Christian authority in history, showing how it is possible for norms to maintain authority while in a continual process of change. Joel holds a BA in English Education from California State University, Long Beach, an MA in English from the University of Northern Colorado, and an MA in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Areas of specialization: 19th and early 20th century German philosophy, social and critical theory, and ecclesiology. Awards include: DAAD Intensive Summer Language Course Grant (2014). His advisors are Cristina Traina and Mark Alznauer.
Joel has served as the Assistant Chair of the Humanities Residential College since 2015. In addition to that post, Joel will be the Graduate Assistant in the Public Humanities at the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities and will serve as the Religious Studies Department's Graduate Teaching Fellow through the Searle Center for Advancing Learning & Teaching for the 2017-2018 school year.