Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Peter D'Agostino  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1962

-- Peter D'Agostino on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Peter R. D'Agostino was associate professor of history and Catholic studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, from 2001 until his death in 2005. He was awarded tenure in 2004.

Biographical and Professional Information

D’Agostino was a path-breaking historian whose research and writing focused on the development of the Catholic Church in America, colleagues said. His book, ''Rome in America'' was awarded the Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize by the American Society of Church History in 2003 and was a widely praised work that challenged past interpretations and broke new ground. ''The Chicago Tribune'' described the book as a "well regarded and expansive history of Catholicism in America." ''Commonweal'' magazine called it a "book of landmark significance" and described D’Agostino as "an intellectually courageous historian."He grew up the youngest of five children in Staten Island, N.Y. He received his bachelor’s degree in religious studies at Brown University in Providence, R.I. In 1987, he earned a master’s degree in religion at the University of Chicago and he received his Ph.D. in the history of Christianity from the University of Chicago in 1993.D’Agostino spent a year in Rome immersed in the Vatican archives doing research for his dissertation. He so loved his work that he taught himself archaic forms of Italian so he could read the old documents. His book argued that the Vatican’s influence on the developing Catholic church in America was greater than most previous historians had believed. His research and writing focused on the development of the Catholic Church in America. His work linked Church history with the history of immigration, especially the history of Italian-Americans.He also enjoyed playing bluegrass violin and mandolin.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Rome in America: Transnational Catholic Ideology from the Risorgimento to Fascism
ISBN: 0807855154

The University of North Carolina Press. 2004

For years, historians have argued that Catholicism in the United States stood decisively apart from papal politics in European society. The Church in America, historians insist, forged an "American Catholicism," a national faith responsive to domestic concerns, disengaged from the disruptive ideological conflicts of the Old World. Drawing on previously unexamined documents from Italian state collections and newly opened Vatican archives, Peter D'Agostino paints a starkly different portrait. In his narrative, Catholicism in the United States emerges as a powerful outpost within an international church that struggled for three generations to vindicate the temporal claims of the papacy within European society.

Even as they assimilated into American society, Catholics of all ethnicities participated in a vital, international culture of myths, rituals, and symbols that glorified papal Rome and demonized its liberal, Protestant, and Jewish opponents. From the 1848 attack on the Papal States that culminated in the creation of the Kingdom of Italy to the Lateran Treaties in 1929 between Fascist Italy and the Vatican that established Vatican City, American Catholics consistently rose up to support their Holy Father. At every turn American liberals, Protestants, and Jews resisted Catholics, whose support for the papacy revealed social boundaries that separated them from their American neighbors.