March 6, 2009 Joseph Kosek Will Lecture on Radical Christian Pacifists on March 25 at Library of Congress

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Robert Saladini (202) 707-2692

Joseph Kip Kosek, assistant professor at George Washington University, will discuss the impact of radical Christian pacifists on American democratic theory and practice, at the Library of Congress on March 25.

Kosek, the author of “Acts of Conscience: Christian Nonviolence and Modern American Democracy” and a former fellow of the Library’s John W. Kluge Center, will talk about his book at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, in Room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington D.C. The event is free and open to the public; tickets and reservations are not needed.

According to Kosek, in response to the massive bloodshed that defined the 20th century, American religious radicals developed an effective new form of nonviolent protest, one that combined Christian principles with new uses of mass media. Greatly influenced by the ideas of Mohandas K. Gandhi, these “acts of conscience” included sit-ins, boycotts, labor strikes and conscientious objection to war. Beginning with World War I and ending with the ascendance of Martin Luther King Jr., Kosek traces the impact of radical Christian pacifists on America.

Kosek, who teaches American studies at George Washington University, finished the research and writing for this book while he was a Kluge Center fellow at the Library of Congress from 2007 to 2008. Kosek received a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1997, and a Ph.D. in American studies from Yale University in 2004. He was awarded the Allan Nevins Prize from the Society of American Historians in 2005. The prize is awarded annually for the best-written dissertation in the field of American history.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For further information on the Kluge Center, visit


PR 09-047
ISSN 0731-3527