University of Richmond religious studies and American studies professor Douglas Winiarski has been named as a finalist for the 2018 George Washington Prize for his book, “Darkness Falls on the Land of Light: Experiencing Religious Awakenings in Eighteenth-Century New England.”

The George Washington Prize, considered one of the nation’s largest and most notable literary awards, recognizes prominent historians for best-written works on the nation’s founding era. Winiarski is one of seven finalists being recognized for books written in 2017.

His prize-winning book focuses on 18th century New Englanders, specifically how evangelicalism emboldened ordinary people to question traditional authorities. Winiarski’s book was the “Choice” Outstanding Academic Title and has been awarded Book of the Year by the Jonathan Edwards Center at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

“‘Darkness Falls on the Land of Light’ explores the experiences of ordinary people in the 18th century living through a period of tumultuous religious upheaval and grappling with controversies that reverberate down to our own times,” Winiarski said. “I was thrilled to learn that it had been selected as a finalist for the George Washington Prize alongside distinguished books on the leading figures and events of the Revolutionary era.”

The finalists will be recognized May 23 at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. The winner will receive $50,000.

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Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies
Religion in early America
Native American religions
Religion and popular/material culture