Steven Pfaff on the Protestant Reformation
Date: June 27th, 2010

Why did Martin Luther’s challenge to the Vatican’s policy on indulgences result in a major schism within Christianity?  Steven Pfaff, associate professor of sociology at the University of Washington, proposes a novel thesis about the role of professors and university students in 16th century central Europe that he developed with his co-author Hyojoung Kim.  Using insights from network analysis, Pfaff challenges and supplements macro-sociological explanations of The Reformation, such as the role of trade, capitalism and printing technology.  He argues that in the first decades the Diet of Worms, scholars must look at the micro-details of how well-positioned individuals were able to spread Luther’s ideas from one person to another.  Prof. Pfaff becomes noted for his use of the word “fissiparity.”  Recorded: April 14, 2010


Prof. Steven Pfaff’s website.

Exit-Voice Dynamics and the Collapse of East Germany by Steven Pfaff.

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