Casper Professorship

The Fr. Henry W. Casper, S.J. Professorship in History

About the Professorship

Fr. Henry Casper

The Casper professorship was established by Dr. Wayne and Mrs. Eileen Ryan to memorialize Father Casper’s accomplishments over a long career as a scholar, history professor, and moral advisor that included many years at Creighton University—where he was one of Dr. Ryan’s favorite Jesuit professors. Father Casper’s signature work was a multi-volume study of small Nebraska parishes titled The History of the Catholic Church in Nebraska.

More About the Professorship

Dr. Heather Fryer is the current holder of the professorship (2014-2018). The theme for her tenure is “Communities, Histories, Identities: How and Why People Tell Their Pasts.” With this in mind, she invites you to explore the ways that people create community by preserving their past. Writing historical accounts is only one way of doing this; there are many others. Artworks, public spaces, parades, monuments, holidays, stories, family trees, and films are some of the ways that people remember, retell, and sometimes argue about who they are. These variations in historical interpretation and historical memory form lines of division and unity that are continually being redrawn. Communities of all sizes in all parts of the world negotiate their pasts in similar ways, with effects that are fascinating to compare.

Heather Fryer

In order to cover this broad topic, each year will have a subtheme. The programming for 2014-15 was “Retaining, Recounting, Reconstructing: How and Why Communities Tell Their Pasts.” In 2015-16 the focus will shift to “How Histories Create ‘Selves’ and ‘Others,’” and the theme in 2016-2017 will be “History and Memory: Reckoning with the Past, Reconciling in the Present.”

Former Holders of the Casper Professorship

Dr. John Calvert (2007-2014)