Brooks HolifieldE. Brooks Holifield, Charles Howard Candler Professor of American Church History at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, has been named a 2011 fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and a leading center for independent policy research.

Holifield joins 211 other new members in the class of 2011 who will be tapped to contribute to the academy’s studies in science and technology policy, global security, social policy and American institutions, the humanities and education.

“I am stunned and deeply honored. I have to say this is something I never expected,” said Holifield in learning of the recognition.

A 41-year veteran professor at Emory, Holifield is a preeminent scholar of American church history whose research focuses on patterns of change in American religious history. He holds degrees from Hendrix College and Yale University, and spent two years in research at Eberhard-Karls University in Tübingen, Germany, and Oxford University in England.

The author of seven books, Holifield also has penned more than 175 scholarly articles, book reviews, and dictionary and encyclopedia entries. Among the books are two award-winners, "Theology in America: Christian Thought from the Age of the Puritans to the Civil War" (Yale University Press, 2003), which received three outstanding book awards, and “God’s Ambassadors: A History of the Christian Clergy in America” (Eerdmans, 2007), which was selected as Book of the Year by the American Academy of Parish Clergy.

His current book project compares religious participation in America and Europe in order to shed light on the question “Why are Americans so religious and how did they get that way?”

Holifield’s election to the academy brings to 20 his major academic awards and fellowships, which include recognition of scholarship from such sources as the National Endowment for the Humanities, and recognition of excellence in teaching, such as the 2010 Emory University Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award and an Outstanding Theological Educator award from the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.

Drawn from the sciences, the arts and humanities, business, public affairs and the nonprofit sector, the 212 new fellows and 16 foreign honorary members of the academy are leaders in their fields and include Nobel laureates and recipients of Pulitzer prizes, Kennedy Center Honors, and Academy, Golden Globe and Grammy awards.

"It is a privilege to honor these men and women for their extraordinary individual accomplishments," said Leslie Berlowitz, academy president and William T. Golden Chair. "The knowledge and expertise of our members give the academy a unique capacity – and responsibility – to provide practical policy solutions to the pressing challenges of the day. We look forward to engaging our new members in this work."

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on Oct. 1, at AAAS headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.

Since its founding in 1780, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences has elected leading "thinkers and doers" from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the 20th. The current membership of 4,000 Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners, and brings a wide range of expertise to the academy’s multidisciplinary analyses of contemporary issues.