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Prof. Donald H. Akenson


Dr. Akenson is an internationally acclaimed scholar and author who is considered the world's foremost authority on the Irish Diaspora. He has written several books, including the highly critically acclaimed Surpassing Wonder: The Invention of the Bible and the Talmuds and St. Saul: A Skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus. His most recent novel is the two volume, An Irish History of Civilization (London: Granta, 2006). His most recent academic books are Discovering the End of Time: Irish Evangelicals in the Age of Daniel O’Connell (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016) and Exporting the Rapture: John Nelson Darby and the Victorian Conquest of North American Evangelicalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018).

He also serves as the Editor of the major series “McGill-Queen’s Studies in the History of Religion,” of which there are, at present, eighty-four volumes in print.

Awards and recognition

Honorary Doctoral degrees from:

  • Victoria University (Wellington, NZ)
  • Queen's University of Belfast (Belfast)
  • University of Regina
  • University of Guelph
  • Lethbridge University
  • McMaster University

Among other awards are Molson Prize Laureate (1996) for lifetime contribution to Canadian culture, and the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order (1993).

Graduate supervision
  • Irish history since 1798
  • Irish diaspora

In the News

Don Akenson speaks with Common Threads (NPR) about his latest book, The Americanization of the Apocalypse

Last week, Don Akenson did two half-hour programs on “Common Threads,” a co-production of WGVU Radio (NPR) and The Interfaith Dialogue Association, discussing his latest book, The Americanization of the Apocalypse (Oxford University Press, 2023).

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.