2022 Guittard Book Award for Historical Scholarship Awarded to Dr. Lynneth Renberg

March 7, 2024
Lynneth Renberg Headshot

We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Lynneth Miller Renberg's book, Women, Dance and Parish Religion in England, 1300-1640: Negotiating the Steps of Faith, has been awarded the 2022 Guittard Book Award for Historical Scholarship. The independent panel of judges praised the book as the "standout" among the entries. They were particularly impressed by the blending of "high" and "low" history, offering a fresh and original lens to the subject matter.

Dr. Renberg Book Cover

This award holds special significance as Dr. Renberg is the first Baylor PhD alum to win the Guittard Book Award. After finishing her doctorate in May 2018, she took up the position of Assistant Professor of History at Anderson University in South Carolina. Both she and her dissertation advisor, Dr. Beth Allison Barr, were delighted by the news.

Dr. Renberg's book uncovers the complex relationship between dance, religion, gender, and sin within the English parish, both before and during the English Reformations. She explores the changing perceptions of dance, from being a sacred act of worship to a sinful transgression, predominantly associated with women. The book draws upon medieval and early modern sermons and narratives, including the stories of the cursed carolers and the dance of Salome, to unveil these shifts in understanding. The book further demonstrates how dance played a crucial role in shaping community dynamics within the parish. As theological definitions of sacrilege, sin, and proper worship evolved, so did the meanings of dance and gender. 

The Guittard Book Award is given annually to the best work of original scholarship in any area of history written by a current or emeritus member of the faculty of the Baylor Department of History or by any graduate holding a degree in history from Baylor University, as assessed by a three-judge panel outside the university. The award was established in 2013 to recognize the legacy of Dr. Francis Gevrier Guittard, to celebrate the high quality of historical scholarship produced by Baylor faculty and graduates, and to recognize the ongoing support of the Guittard family for the Department of History, most notably through the longstanding Guittard Fellows program, but also through a number of scholarships and awards. 

Want to join Dr. Renberg as a Guittard Book Award winner? Submissions for the 2023 award are due April 5, 2024.