Peter Cajka

Peter Cajka

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Assistant Teaching Professor

1034 Flanner Hall

Research Interests

  • The Sixties
  • American Catholicism
  • The Culture of Democracy and The History of Ideas

Peter Cajka is Assistant Teaching Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies. His research sits at the intersection of Catholic Studies, the history of ideas, and the history of sexuality. Cajka earned his doctorate in American history from Boston College in 2017. Prior to joining American Studies, he worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism. His book, Follow Your Conscience: The Catholic Church and the Spirit of the Sixties, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2021. It shows how Catholics increasingly invoked conscience rights in debates with the modern state about conscription and in the Church itself regarding sexuality. Cajka has published peer-reviewed articles in The Sixties: A Journal of Politics, Culture and History, The Journal of Church and StateUS Catholic Historian, American Catholic Studies, and Ohio History. From 2020 to 2022 he served as Director of the group research project, “Gender, Sex, and Power: Towards a History of Clergy Abuse in the US Catholic Church.” His words have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Indianapolis Star, Religion and Politics, The National Catholic ReporterThe Conversation, and US Catholic. Cajka has offered several courses for American Studies students, including “The Vietnam War & American Catholics,” “Civil Rights in America,” “The Ideas that Made America,” “Introduction to American Studies,” “Witnessing the Sixties,” and “America’s Culture Wars.” He is happy to advise undergraduate theses in a wide range of areas. Cajka is a member of the 2022 to 2024 cohort of Young Scholars of American Religion. For more information on Cajka and his future research projects, as well as his teaching and media appearances, please see his personal website. 

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