My first book project is called Before the Religious Right: Liberal Protestants, Human Rights, and the Polarization of the United States. It is a history of how international debates about human rights and world order transformed American domestic politics from the 1920s to the 1960s. Before the Religious Right focuses on the activities of American liberal Protestants, whose networks, ideas, and activism served as the crucial link between international developments and American politics. This influential religious community helped create the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and it mobilized politically in support of the New Deal, the Civil Rights movement, the Great Society, and anti-Vietnam War protests. I argue that it was precisely this group’s international engagement that motivated their influential domestic political mobilization and transformed American politics.
Whereas my first book looks at the domestic implications of religious internationalism, my second book project investigates how Americans exported their polarizing politics across the world from the 1960s to the present. Tentatively titled A Global History of the American Culture Wars, this new project follows American culture warriors as they went abroad, taking with them their battles about race, secularism, education, birth control, free speech and abortion. Contrary to a literature that depicts the culture wars as evidence of American religious and cultural parochialism, I show how the polarizing politics we are so familiar with today were deeply intertwined with major international transformations, like decolonization, the advent of human rights, and the Cold War.
“American Protestants and the International Origins of the 1960s Democratic Revolution,” Diplomatic History, 45, no. 1 (January 2021).
“William Ernest Hocking and the Liberal Protestant Origins of Human Rights” in Sarah Shortall and Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins, eds., Christianity and Human Rights Reconsidered (Cambridge University Press, 2020), 139-157.
“For Human Rights Abroad, against Jim Crow at Home: The Political Mobilization of American Ecumenical Protestants in the Era of World War II,” Journal of American History, 105, no. 2 (September 2018), 267-290.
“American Protestants and the Era of Antiracist Human Rights,” Journal of the History of Ideas, 79, no. 3 (July 2018), 427-443.
“The Cold War Era, 1945-60,” in Routledge History of the Twentieth-Century United States, eds. Darren Dochuk and Jerald Podair, 2018, 48-59.
“The Protestant Search for ‘the Universal Christian Community’ between Decolonization and Communism,” Religions, 8, No. 2 (2017): 17.
Kluge Fellow, John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress, 2021-22.
NEH Summer Stipend, 2021.
American Society for Church History Research Fellowship, 2019.
Postdoctoral Research Associate, John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics Washington University in St. Louis, 2016-2018.
Chancellor’s Public Scholar, University of California, Berkeley, 2016.