Oklahoma Baptist University

Powell Receives OBU Grant for Gladstone Research

Oklahoma Baptist University's Faculty Development Committee has awarded an $800 grant to Dr. John Powell, associate professor of history, for his continued research on British Prime Minister William Gladstone.

"I used this grant to continue research that I had undertaken several years ago on the transformation of William Gladstone, four-time prime minister of Great Britain, from arch-conservative to quintessential liberal," Powell said. "I became interested in Gladstone more than 20 years ago when I began to study Liberal Party politics in Britain."

The grant aids Powell's research, which has taken him to the British Library, Colindale Newspaper Library and the Public Records office, all in London, as well as other locations, said Dr. Ben Myers, OBU assistant professor of English who serves as the Faculty Development Committee chairman. Powell is examining primary documents (including drafts and correspondence) related to William Gladstone's composition of "Remarks on the Royal Supremacy." He already has contributed to the study of Gladstone, with his essay "Gladstone and the Colonial Church Clause" in the book "Tradition and Formation," published last year by Pandora Press.

"His ongoing research will result in an article and, eventually, a book-length manuscript on Gladstone," said Myers. "The committee wished to honor and support Dr. Powell's commitment to furthering knowledge within his discipline, increasing the knowledge-base from which he teaches, and raising the research profile of OBU."

Powell said traveling to the locations greatly enhanced his research.

"By traveling to London, Liverpool, Durham and Hawarden, I was able to read a substantial number of Gladstone's private letters, papers, documents and memoranda written during the 1840s and 1850s," Powell said. "This trip enabled me to work in unique archival materials, gaining new knowledge and insights in the field of modern British and European religion, politics and culture; and to develop new research opportunities for OBU students, especially those planning to continue in graduate school."

Through Powell's research, he is seeking to provide additional professional preparation for classroom instruction and student guidance, increase academic visibility for OBU, and contribute to advancing OBU's mission.

"If we can learn lessons from the ways that Gladstone applied his faith to his personal life and politics; and the ways that these decisions were perceived by the public; and from his attempts to later reconcile his actions with the memory of those actions, it should help us all make wiser decisions as we seek to integrate our deepest beliefs with our patterns of behavior," Powell said.

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