History Department
J. Michael Raley

Prof. Raley

Professor, Hanover College Department of History and Medieval  &                        Renaissance Studies Program

Recipient of the 2022 Daryl R. Karns Award for Excellence in Scholarly and Creative Activity

Recipient of the 2022 Stanley Totten Award for Outstanding Service to Hanover College

Faculty Advisor for the Board of Editors, Hanover Historical Review

Member, Hanover College Concert Band


Classic Hall 113

Hanover College

Hanover, IN 47243 U.S.A.

Office Telephone: (001) (812) 866-7205

Email: raleyjm@hanover.edu



Indiana University School of Music

Institute for Advanced Musical Studies, Montreux, Switzerland

B.M., Belmont College, Nashville, Tennessee (1981)

M.M., The University of Louisville (1983)

D.M.A., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky (1988)

M.A., Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (1994)

Ph.D., The University of Chicago (2007).



2022. Recipient of the Hanover College Daryl R. Karns Award for Excellence in Scholarly and Creative Activity.

2022. Recipient of the Stanley Totten Award for Outstanding Service to Hanover College. 

2020-21. President, Indiana Association of Historians.

2017. Finalist, Arthur and Ilene Baynham Teaching Award, Hanover College.

2016. "Volunteer of the Year," Jefferson County Historical Society, Madison, Indiana.

2008. Northeastern Illinois University Instructor Excellence Award.

2004. University of Chicago Ruth Murray Essay Prize in Gender Studies.

2002-03. Annette Kade Fellowship in Medieval History, The Newberry Library, Chicago.

1988. Performer's Certificate. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary School of Church Music.

Prize-Winning Theses Supervised at Hanover College, 2015-Present

  • Katarina Rexing, "Pagan Ritual, Demons, and Witchcraft: Transformation throughout the Middle Ages: ca. 500 - ca. 1500 A.D. (Winner, 2021 Philip R. Taylor Thesis Award).
  • Elizabeth Donaway, "A Baroque Drama: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz's Crisis in Seventeenth-Century New Spain" (Winner, 2019 Philip R. Taylor Thesis Award).
  • Hope Westmoreland, "The Conversion of the Scandinavian Vikings from Paganism to Christianity" (Awarded the 2019 Charles and Dorothy Lynn Prize).
  • Alex Kitchel, "The Ciompi Revolt of 1378: Socio-Political Constraints and Economic Demands of Workers in Renaissance Florence" (Awarded the 2018 Charles and Dorothy Lynn Prize).
  • Mersadi's Dā Curtsinger, "The Struggle for the Conquest of Antioch (1097-1098): Muslim and Christian Perspectives of a Critical Battle during the First Crusade" (Awarded the 2016 Charles and Dorothy Lynn Prize).

About Professor Raley . . . .

Professor J. Michael Raley joined the faculty of Hanover College in 2013, where he teaches courses on medieval Europe, the Italian Renaissance, Tudor and Stuart England, and the Reformation era, as well as the Modern West, World History to 1500, Africa in World History, and the History of Human Rights in Theory and Practice. Prior to coming to Hanover College, he taught at Alma College, Wake Forest University, Northeastern Illinois University, and the University of Chicago. He has served as the Hanover College History Department chair (2015-18), on the Publications Committee of the American Musicological Society (2015-2019), and as secretary, vice president, president, and immediate past president (2016-22) of the Indiana Association of Historians. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences and on the editorial review board of the Journal of Band Research. In 2022, Professor Raley was awarded the Hanover College Daryl R. Karns Award for Scholarly and Creative Activity.

Prior to becoming a historian, Professor Raley enjoyed a career as an orchestral musician in Flensburg and Krefeld, Germany, and later with the Louisville Orchestra. He taught music courses and directed brass ensembles at the University of Louisville, the Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, and Kentucky State University. He continues to perform as the principal trombonist with the Louisville Philharmonia Orchestra and also with the Commonwealth Brass Band at IUS.

Professor Raley's other hobbies include gardening, working on his historic home, hunting and fishing, running, and driving his red 1950 Ford Tudor Coupe. He is also an ordained Baptist minister and trained church musician.

Professor Raley's research interests focus on legal, social, gender, and cultural history of late medieval and early modern Europe, especially the evolution of rights theory and in particular the rights to freedom of religion and association during the late medieval and early modern eras, as well as on the history of the American Midwest during the nineteenth century. Several of his studies have explored the struggles of the late medieval Dutch religious movement known as the Devotio moderna as well as on critical issues related to Lutheran, Anabaptist, and Baptist history. In recent years he has also begun researching and publishing articles about African American race relations here in Indiana during the nineteenth century, the Underground Railroad along the Ohio River border region during the antebellum era, and the early history of Hanover College.

His publications include:


  • "The Devotio Moderna and Freedom of Association: A Case Study in Medieval Rights Theory." Ph.D. dissertation, The University of Chicago, 2007.
  • "Johannes Ockeghem's Gaude Maria Virgo." D.M.A. dissertation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1988.


  • Review of Religious Conflict and Accommodation in the Early Modern World. Edited by Marguerite Ragnow and William D. Phillips, Jr. Minneapolis: Center for Early Modern History, University of Minnesota, 2011. In the Journal of World History, vol. 24, no. 2 (June 2013): 426-430.


  • "Martin Luther on the Legitimacy of Resisting the Emperor." Journal of Law and Religion, vol. 37, no. 1 (January 2022): 96-132. Available at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-law-and-religion/latest-issue?utm_source=hootsuite&utm_medium=twitter&utm_term=&utm_content=&utm_campaign=JLR_LSA2020#.
  • "Colonizationism versus Abolitionism in the Antebellum North: The Anti-Slavery Society of Hanover College and Indiana Theological Seminary (1836) versus the Hanover College Officers, Board of Trustees, and Faculty." Midwest Social Sciences Journal, vol. 23 (2020), Issue 1, Article 9. Available at: https://scholar.valpo.edu/mssj/vol23/iss1/9
  • "The Underground Railroad in Jefferson County, Indiana: An Interracial Partnership Ahead of Its Time." Indiana Magazine of History, vol. 116, no. 4 (2020): 293-342. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/indimagahist.116.4.02?refreqid=excelsior%3A68e04b2482f97c84b2ffbab863e3a0ce.
  • "Ernest E. Lyon and the Pi Kappa Omicron Fraternity Band Music Commissioning Project at the University of Louisville (1949-1958)." The Journal of Band Research, vol. 52, no. 2 (Spring 2017): 40-92. Available at: https://jbr-store.sellfy.store/search/?search=Raley.
  • "McElrath, Hugh Thomas." Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology. Available online at: http://www.hymnology.co.uk/.
  • "The Career and Contributions of Music Educator and University of Louisville Band Director Ernest E. Lyon (1915-2005)." The American Bandmasters Association Journal of Band Research, vol. 49, no. 2 (Spring 2014): 1-27. Available at: https://jbr-store.sellfy.store/search/?search=Raley.
  • "A Revised Chronology for the Inquisitors of the Brothers and Sisters of the Common Life, ca. 1394 -- ca. 1409." Ons Geestelijk Erf (Our Spiritual Heritage, Antwerp, Belgium), vol. 83, no. 1 (2012): 57-95.
  • "Traversing Borders -- Defining Boundaries: Cosmopolitan Harmonies and Confessional Theology in Georg Rhau's Liturgical Publications." The Sixteenth Century Journal, vol. 43, no. 4 (2012): 1079-1105. Available at: https://www.escj.org/article/traversing-borders%E2%80%94defining-boundaries-cosmopolitan-harmonies-and-confessional-theology.
  • "Interconfessionalism and Confessionalization in Germany and Austria, ca. 1530-1545: The Chorale Motets and Polemical Works of Arnold von Bruck and Stephan Mahu." In Jubilate, Amen! A Festschrift in Honor of Donald P. Hustad, ed. Paul A Richardson and Timothy W. Sharp, 315-356. Hillsdale, N.Y.: Pendragon Press, 2010.
  • "'Sing unto the Lord a New Song': Robert H. Coleman's Gospel Song Books and Hymnals (1909-1939) and Their Impact upon Southern Baptist Hymnody." In Minds and Hearts in Praise of God: Hymns and Essays in Church Music in Honor of Hugh T. McElrath, 175-209. Co-edited by J. Michael Raley and Deborah Carlton Loftis. Franklin, Tenn.: Providence House, 2006.
  • "'On the Same Basis as the Men': The Campaign to Reinstate Women Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, 1885-1918." Journal of Southern Religion 7 (2004). Available at: http://jsr.fsu.edu/Volume7/Raley1.htm.                                    * Awarded the 2004 Ruth Murray Memorial Essay Prize in Gender Studies, The University of Chicago.
  • "Johannes Ockeghem and the Motet Gaude Maria virgo." Anuario musical (Barcelona, Spain) 46 (1991): 27-55.


  • Montesinos' Legacy: Defining and Defending Human Rights for 500 Years. Proceedings of the Universal Human Rights: 500th Anniversary of Antonio de Montesinos Conference.
    Sponsored by Alma College, the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, and the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in the United States, Washington, D.C., December 2-4, 2011. Edited by Edward C. Lorenz, Dana E. Aspinall, and J. Michael Raley. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2015.
  • Minds and Hearts in Praise of God: Hymns and Essays in Church Music in Honor of Hugh T. McElrath. Co-edited by J. Michael Raley and Deborah Carlton Loftis. Franklin, Tenn.: Hillsboro Press/Providence House, 2006.


  • Moravian Hutterite Peter Riedemann and his Rechenschafft unserer Religion, Leer, und Glaubens (Confession of Our Religion, Faith and Teaching, ca. 1540-42), a critically evaluation of Riedemann's early, but important, contributions to the emergence of liberty of conscience and separation of church and state in the sixteenth century.
  • "Moses Broyles: African-American Minister, Educator, Politician, and Advocate for Social Justice and Racial Equality in Nineteenth-Century Indiana."
  • A reexamination of the legal case of Friar Mathew Grabow and the Devotio Moderna at the Council of Constance (1414-1419).
  • A conference paper (International Society for the History of Rhetoric meeting at Nijmegen, The Netherlands, in August 2022) and future article, entitled "Imitating Christ: The Devotio moderna, García de Cisneros's Book of Exercises for the Spiritual Life, and Ignatius Loyola's Spirituality."
  • A reexamination of "Pope Honorius III's Bull, Super speculam (1219), and the Study of Roman Law at the University of Paris, 1219-1679."
  • A full-length book, entitled "Never Let a Note Come Due": Aaron Guard Cloud and the Emergence of Mercantile Capitalism in the Nineteenth-Century Rural American Midwest, examining the life and career of Indiana and Illinois mercantile banker A.G. Cloud, expected completion date: August 2022.
  • A full-length book project, Geert Grote and the Devotio Moderna: Pursuing the Philosophia Dei during the Crisis of the Great Schism, a revision of the author's doctoral thesis about the late medieval Dutch lay religious folk known as the "Modern Devout" in light of recent scholarship and the author's own archival research.
  • A translation project: Johannes Busch's Liber de origine moderne devotionis (Book on the Origins of the Modern Devout, ca. 1464), begun in the summer of 2021.
  • History of Hanover College, projected completion and publication for the college's bicentennial in 2027.

Last Updated: April 2022