Associate Professor, Department of History, University of North Carolina July 2018 to present
Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of North Carolina Fall 2012 to June 2018
Lecturer, Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto Fall 2011 to Spring 2012
Instructor, Yale University Spring 2010
PhD, American Religious History, Yale University, awarded with Distinction, 2011
MPhil and MA, American Religious History, Yale University, 2008
BA in History, Yale University, Magna cum Laude, with Distinction in the Major, 2003
Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism (Oxford University Press, 2013)
The Man On Whom Nothing Was Lost: The Grand Strategy of Charles Hill (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)
Book Chapters, Refereed Articles, and Review Essays
“The Peculiar Mormon Paradox,” Mormon Studies Review 4 (2016), 41-55.
“The Theological Origins of the Christian Right,” in Julian Zelizer, Andrew Preston, and Bruce Schulman, eds., Faithful Republic: Religion and Politics in Modern America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), 101-117.
“The Recovery of American Liberal Religion,” Modern Intellectual History vol. 11, no. 2 (August 2014), 505-518.
“The National Association of Evangelicals,” in Oxford Encyclopedia of American Social History (Oxford University Press, 2012).
“The Chalcedon Problem: Rousas John Rushdoony and the Origins of Christian Reconstructionism,” Church History 77:2 (June 2008), 399-437.
Mainstream Print Media
Contributor, New York Times [2007 to present]
“The Fight Over Tenure Is Not Really About Tenure,” New York Times, September 26, 2021
“Is There a Way to Dial Down the Political Hatred?” New York Times, June 13, 2021
“A Once-in-a-Century Crisis Can Help Educate Doctors,” New York Times, April 11, 2021
” ‘When You Get Into Unschooling, It’s Like a Religion,'” New York Times, September 25, 2020
“The Trouble with Empathy,” New York Times, September 4, 2020
“What Would Jesus Do About Inequality?” New York Times, December 13, 2019
“Can Colleges Guarantee Intellectual Diversity?” New York Times, August 30, 2019
“The Anti-College is on the Rise,” New York Times, June 8, 2019
“Can Black Evangelicals Save the Whole Movement?” New York Times, April 20, 2019
“Is There Such a Thing as an Authoritarian Voter?” New York Times, Dec. 15, 2018
“The Podcast Bros Want to Optimize Your Life,” New York Times, Aug. 3, 2018
“Sex and Gender on the Christian Campus,” New York Times, June 2, 2018
“The Misguided Drive to Measure Learning Outcomes,” New York Times, Feb. 23, 2018
“How to Escape from Roy Moore’s Evangelicalism,” New York Times, Nov. 11, 2017
“Memorize That Poem!” New York Times, Aug. 26, 2017
“Canada’s Polite and Diffident Independence Celebration,” New Yorker, July 1, 2017
“U Can’t Talk To Ur Professor Like This,” New York Times, May 13, 2017
“The Evangelical Roots of Our Post-Truth Society,” New York Times, April 13, 2017
“Where In the World Can We Find Hope?” New York Times, Feb. 17, 2017
“Can I Go To Great Books Camp?” New York Times, Dec. 3, 2016
“A State of Alienation,” New York Times, Nov. 9, 2016
“The Prophet in His Tower,” New York Times, Oct. 9, 2016
“What’s God Got to Do With It?” New York Times, Oct. 8, 2016
“Stop Saying ‘I Feel Like,’” New York Times, May 1, 2016
“Who Are the Gay Evangelicals?” New York Times, February 27, 2016
“Hallelujah College,” New York Times, January 17, 2016
“Lecture Me. Really.” New York Times, October 17, 2015
“Donald Trump and the Rise of the Moral Minority,” New York Times, September 26, 2015
“A Rise in Secular Libertarianism, Not Liberalism,” New York Times, June 29, 2015
“Wanted: A Theology of Atheism,” New York Times, May 30, 2015
“Onward, Christian Healthcare?” New York Times, January 31, 2015
“The Election in North Carolina is Not About Nothing,” New York Times, November 4, 2014
“Charismatic Catholicism is Alive and Well,” Crux (Boston Globe), September 26, 2014
“As Vermont Goes, So Goes the Nation?” New York Times, April 6, 2014
“Francis and His Predecessors,” American Prospect, March/April 2014
“Texas Textbooks: A Case Study for Creationism’s Staying Power,” Religion & Politics, January 14, 2014
“Billy Graham and the Fracture of American Evangelicalism” Christian Century blog, November 13, 2013
“How Billy Graham Became an American Icon,” CNN.com, November 9, 2013
“Single Moms with Family Values,” New York Times, October 27, 2013
“Love Thy Stranger As Thyself,” New York Times, May 11, 2013
“One Nation Under God?” New York Times, December 22, 2012
“The Power of Political Communion,” New York Times, September 15, 2012
“Southern Baptist Convergence,” New York Times, June 18, 2012
“John Stott, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien: Why American Evangelicals Love the British,” Religion & Politics, May 1, 2012
“Leaps of Faith,” New York Times, March 1, 2012
“The First Principles of Rick Santorum,” New York Times, February 9, 2012
“The Complicated History of Catholics, Protestants, and Contraceptives,” Slate, February 9, 2012
“Can the GOP Become the Party of the Working Mom?” Slate, December 5, 2011
“Who Is John Galt and Why Is He On Lululemon Bags?” Slate, November 18, 2011
“Brother’s Keepers,” Foreign Policy, August 2, 2011
“Sign Here, and Here, and Here,” Slate, July 13, 2011
“The Missionary Position,” Foreign Policy, June 13, 2011
“Thou Shalt (Sometimes) Kill,” Foreign Policy, May 11, 2011
“Housewives of God,” New York Times Magazine, November 14, 2010
“The Reformer,” Christianity Today, October 2010 (cover story)
“The Controversialist,” Christianity Today, April 2009
“Who Would Jesus Smack Down?” New York Times Magazine, January 6, 2009
“Not Your Father’s L’Abri,” Christianity Today, March 2008
“The Unexpected Monks,” Boston Globe, February 3, 2008
“Onward Christian Scholars,” New York Times Magazine, Sept. 30, 2007
“Sects Appeal: Evangelicals v. Mormons,” New Republic, Nov. 20, 2006
Charismatic Leaders Who Remade America (10-lecture course for Audible, released May 2020)
History of Christianity II: From the Reformation to the Modern Megachurch (36-lecture course for the Teaching Company’s Great Courses series, released November 2017)
“The Pulpit, Power, and Politics: Evangelicalism’s Thumbprint on America” (panel discussion on CBC Radio show Ideas, broadcast Dec. 4, 2019)
“Life in the Public Square: The Life and Thought of Richard John Neuhaus” (panel discussion on Ideas, broadcast May 5, 2015)
Review of Anna Della Subin, Accidental Gods: On Men Unwittingly Turned Divine. Washington Post, January 28, 2022.
Review of Adam Morris, American Messiahs: False Prophets of a Damned Nation. New York Times Book Review, April 26, 2019.
Review of Francis FitzGerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America. The Atlantic (May 2017).
Review of Todd Brenneman, Homespun Gospel: The Triumph of Sentimentality in Contemporary American Evangelicalism. Church History Vol. 84, No. 1 (March 2015), 281-283.
Review of Austen Ivereigh, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope. New York Times Book Review, December 21, 2014.
Review of Randall Balmer, Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter and Jimmy Carter, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power. New York Times Book Review, June 5, 2014
Review of George Marsden, The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief. Democracy, Spring 2014
Review of David R. Swartz, Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism. New York Times Book Review, September 28, 2012
Review of T.M. Luhrmann, When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God. New York Times Book Review, April 29, 2012
Review of Randall Stephens and Karl Giberson, The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age. New York Times Book Review, January 8, 2012
Review of Jeffrey Owen Jones and Peter Meyer, The Pledge: A History of the Pledge of Allegiance. The Book (online review of The New Republic), February 7, 2011
Review of Susan Herbst, Rude Democracy: Civility and Incivility in American Politics. The Book, September 1, 2010
Review of Andrew S. Finstuen, Original Sin and Everyday Protestants: The Theology of Reinhold Niebuhr, Billy Graham, and Paul Tillich in an Age of Anxiety. Books & Culture, September/October 2010, 24.
Review of Marci McDonald, The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada. Toronto Globe & Mail, May 14, 2010, F10.
Review of Claude S. Fischer, Made In America: A Social History of American Culture and Character. The Book, May 13, 2010
“The Impossible Thing We Have to Do: Empathy in the Culture Wars and the College Classroom,” University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, Mar. 16, 2022
“Teaching Empathy:The Liberal Arts in a Post-Truth, For-Profit Age,” Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA, Feb. 24, 2022
“Medical Humanities in Flux,” Grand Rounds, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Nov. 10, 2021 [by Zoom]
“Medical Humanities in the Covid Era: Challenges and Opportunities,” Grand Rounds, University of Nebraska Medical Center, June 23, 2021 [by Zoom]
“Charisma in American History,” National Humanities Center Board of Trustees Meeting, Raleigh, NC, March 19, 2021 [by Zoom]
“The Christian Right, Covid, and ‘Fake News,’ Institute for Research and Education, Rio de Janeiro, July 22, 2020 [by Zoom]
“Evangelicals and Trump: An Alliance with a Long History.” University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, Dec. 10, 2019.
“Inside the Mind of the Christian Right,” Wayne Community College, Goldsboro, NC, Nov. 19, 2019.
“Writing About Conservative Religion in the Era of ‘Fake News,’” Roy H. Park Fellow Symposium, Hussman School of Journalism, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Sept. 4, 2019.
“‘Make Sure All of Your People Vote:’ Donald Trump and the Complexity of Evangelicalism in North America.” Lecture at Camrose Public Library, Camrose, AB, Canada, Oct. 18, 2018.
“The Evangelical History You Don’t Know.” Convocation address, College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, MO, Oct. 1, 2018.
“Teaching Critical Empathy in a Post-Truth, Pro-Feelings Age.” Lecture at the Progressive/Conservative Summit, Hauenstein Center, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI, April 14, 2018.
“The Grand Strategy of Charisma: From the Puritans to the Age of Trump,” Lecture for the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy, Yale University, New Haven, CT, April 2, 2018.
“Faith Seeking Understanding: the Evangelical Experience, and Mormon Connections.” Keynote address at 2018 Mormon Studies Conference, Utah Valley State University, Orem, UT, Feb. 23, 2018.
“A Short History of the Evangelical Mind.” Break-out session lecture at International Conference of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Dallas, TX, Feb. 1, 2018.
“Evangelical Students Want More History.” Plenary Speech at International Conference of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Dallas, TX, Jan 31, 2018.
“Evangelicals and Trump: Understanding the Appeal,” Faith Angle Forum lecture, Miami Beach, FL, Nov. 6, 2017
“Inside the Mind of the Christian Right: A History of the Culture Wars,” (Tippy McMichael Lecture, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fayetteville, AK), Oct. 7, 2017
“Charisma and American History: From the Puritans to Trump,” University of Arkansas, Oct. 6, 2017
“Luther and American Evangelicals,” Roanoke College, Nov. 29, 2016
“Inside the Mind of the Christian Right: A Deep History of the Culture Wars,” Lehigh University (Connell Lecture), April 14, 2016
“The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism,” Gordon College (Crum Lecture), April 7, 2016
“Evangelicals and the Authority Problem,” Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, April 7, 2016
“The Curious History of the Christian Worldview: Theological Origins of the Culture Wars,” Messiah College (Schrag Lecture), Mar. 17, 2016
“Adventures in Ideas: American Christianity,” UNC Program in the Humanities, Feb. 12-13, 2016
“Religion and Politics in 2016: Reports from the Trenches,” Duke University, Jan. 21, 2016
“The Theological Origins of America’s Culture War,” Northwestern University, Nov. 9, 2015
“The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism,” John Locke Foundation, July 13, 2015
“In Secularism We Trust?” Fordham University (Peter and Margaret Steinfels Lecture), Nov. 18, 2014
“Inside the Mind of the Christian Right,” University of Tennessee at Knoxville (Charles O. Jackson Memorial Lecture), Nov. 6, 2014
“Holy Minded: Evangelicals and the Problem of Anti-Intellectualism,” University of California at Berkeley, April 17, 2014
“Inside the Mind of the Christian Right: A Deep History of the Culture Wars,” University of Montana, March 11, 2014
“Women in American Religious History,” University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Nov. 16, 2013
“Holy Minded: Evangelicals and the Problem of Anti-Intellectualism,” University of Calgary (Christian Thought Lecture), Nov. 5, 2013
“Culture War and the Continental Divide: Rival Evangelicalisms in North American Life,” University of Calgary (Lecture in Christian Thought), Nov. 4, 2013
“Do You Really Need Theology to Explain the Christian Right?” Princeton University, March 11, 2013
“Land of Pilgrim’s Pride: American Exceptionalism and the Rise of the Christian Right,” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Oct. 6, 2012
“From Cold War to Culture War: Evangelicals and the Intersection of Politics and Ideas,” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Feb. 9, 2012
“From Cold War to Culture War: Evangelicals and the Intersection of Politics and Ideas,” Stanford University, Jan. 30, 2012
“From Cold War to Culture War: Evangelicals and the Intersection of Politics and Ideas,” George Mason University, Jan. 26, 2012
“Evangelicals and Foreign Affairs: Four Myths,” Boston University, December 5, 2011
“The Culture Wars: Reality and Rhetoric,” Yale College, March 31, 2010
“Culture Wars,” Amherst College, Amherst, Mass., May 5, 2009
“Jesus For President: Faith, Politics, and Why Americans Can’t Keep Them Apart,” University of Alberta (Edmonton), November 4, 2008
“The Renaissance of the Evangelical Mind,” The King’s University College (Edmonton), November 4, 2008
“Jesus For President,” University of Alberta (Camrose), November 3, 2008
“Jesus For President,” California State University (Chico), October 27, 2008
“Introduction to Mormon History and Theology,” Yale Divinity School, Oct. 30, 2007
“Facing Charlie: Biography and the Living Subject,” Yale University (Franke Lecture in the Humanities), March 21, 2006
Conference Presentations and Panels
“Discussion of Ideas that Made America.” Roundtable presentation for the 2021 meeting of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History, March 21, 2022 [by Zoom]
“Fascist Dreams, Red Nightmares.” Panel chair for the 2021 meeting of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History, Oct. 29, 2021 [by Zoom]
“White Evangelical Alignment with the Political Forces of Our Time,” Plenary Panel Presentation for Christian Scholars Conference, Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN, June 10, 2021.
“The End of Liberalism.” Roundtable presentation for 2019 meeting of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History, Nov. 8, 2019.
“The Very Idea of Religious Tradition.” Roundtable presentation for 2019 meeting of the American Historical Association, Jan. 5, 2019.
“Christianity and the Problem of Anti-Intellectualism.” Plenary roundtable chair for 2018 meeting of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History, Nov. 9, 2018.
“Remembering and Forgetting Old-Time Religion in the Age of Trump.” Roundtable presentation for 2017 meeting of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History, Oct. 28, 2017.
“Canadian Lessons for the Evangelical Mind.” Presentation for “Enduring Trends and New Directions: A Conference on the History of American Christianity,” University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN, March 23, 2018.
“Religious Authorities, Laity & Humanitarianism.” Presentation for “Religion and Humanitarianism in the New Age of Nationalism” conference, University of California, Berkeley, March 16, 2018.
“Theologies of Evangelical Trumpism.” Presentation for “Factions, Fears, and Fake News” conference, Columbia University, New York City, Nov. 10, 2017.
“Remembering and Forgetting that Old-Time Religion in the Age of Trump,” roundtable for the 2017 Conference of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History, Dallas, TX, Oct. 28, 2017.
“Charisma and Ecumenical Protestants.” Paper for Conference on Ecumenical Protestantism and Post-Protestant Secularism in the United States,” University of California at Berkeley, Oct. 13, 2017.
“Francis Schaeffer and the Evangelical Worldview in the Cold War. Paper for “Defending the Faith,” conference at the British Academy, Sept 21, 2017.
“Proof Texts, Presuppositions, and Politics: Evangelical Apologetics as a Mode of Culture War.” Paper for the 2016 meeting of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History, Oct. 15, 2016.
“Martin Luther and American Evangelicals.” Paper for Conference on Luther: Forgotten and Neglected Aspects of his Life and Work,” Northwestern University, Nov. 8, 2015.
“The Theological Turn in Intellectual History.” Roundtable presentation for the 2014 meeting of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History, Oct. 11, 2014.
“Defining Evangelicalism: Questions that Complement the ‘Quadrilateral.’” Paper for the 2014 meeting of the Conference on Faith and History, Sept. 26, 2014.
“Faith in 2024,” Roundtable presentation for the Aspen Ideas Festival, June 28, 2014.
“Religion and U.S. Foreign Relations.” Roundtable presentation for the 2014 meeting of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, June 20, 2014.
“The Cultural Turn in Evangelical Missions.” Response paper for the Danforth Distinguished Lecture Series, John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University, Nov. 19, 2013
“Evangelicals, Hippies, and the Politics of Community.” Paper for the 2013 meeting of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History, Nov. 2, 2013.
“Is Evangelical an American Word? Mapping an Elusive Concept.” Roundtable presentation for the 2013 meeting of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History, Nov. 2, 2013.
“Culture War as State of Nature.” Paper for Historiographical Heresy: A Conference on the Legacy of Jon Butler, April 6, 2013.
“‘Plain-Folk Religion:’ Theology’s Place in a Political Story.” Paper for the 2013 meeting of the American Historical Association (Conference on Faith and History), Jan. 5, 2013.
“Barth, the Niebuhrs, and Other Demons: The American Evangelical Problem with Evil in the Twentieth Century.” Paper for the 2013 meeting of the American Historical Association, Jan. 4, 2013.
“God’s New Grand Narrative: The Intellectual Mobilization of the Religious Right, 1970-2000.” Paper for the 2011 meeting of the American Historical Association, Jan. 7, 2011; also organized panel, “Sacred Politics: Rethinking the Rise of the Religious Right.”
“Evangelicals and Edinburgh: The Fall and Rise of Conservative American Ecumenism.” Paper for the 2010 meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Oct. 30, 2010.
Selected Awards and Honors
Research Fellowship, National Humanities Center, 2020-21.
Manekin Family Award for Teaching Excellence in Honors Carolina, 2017.
Faculty Fellowship, Institute for Arts and Humanities, UNC, Spring 2017.
Religion Newswriters Association Nonfiction Book Award, First Place, 2015. Prize for best nonfiction book of the year pertaining to the study of religion.
Theron Rockwell Field Prize, 2011. Yale University-wide award for “best poetic, literary, or religious work of scholarship.”
Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, 2006-2010. U.S. government award to support doctoral studies and research.
John Morton Blum Fellowship, 2009. Fellowship to support doctoral research in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee.
John F. Enders Fellowship, 2009. Fellowship to support doctoral research in locations listed above.
Haynes/Historical Society of Southern California Research Stipend, 2009. Fellowship to support doctoral research in California.
Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies, 2005-2006. Fellowship to support doctoral studies.
Kingsley Fellowship, 2001. Fellowship to support independent ethnographic fieldwork in Russian Orthodox Old Believers’ community in rural northern Alberta.
Humans and the Cosmos
History of Religion in North America
Modern American Intellectual History
Global Evangelicalism since 1600
Sin and Evil in Modern America
Honors in History (undergraduate Honors thesis seminar)
Thinking Historically (graduate)
History of Christianity Since 1648 (graduate)
History of Christianity in North America (graduate)
Problems in American Religious History (graduate)
Introductory Colloquium in United States History since 1865 (graduate)
Associate Chair, History department, Fall 2019 to Spring 2020
Editor, Department Historian (History Department biannual electronic newsletter), Fall 2014 to Spring 2018
Member, Advisory Board, UNC Program for Public Discourse, Fall 2019 to present
Member, Undergraduate Studies Committee, Fall 2018 to Spring 2019
Member, Student Learning Outcomes for General Education Courses Committee, November 2017 to April 2018
Member, Chair’s Advisory Committee, Fall 2015—Spring 2016
Member, Faculty Advisory Board, Carolina Public Humanities, Fall 2014 to Present
Member, Graduate Studies Committee, Fall 2012—Spring 2014
Student Advising and Committees
Ph.D. Thesis Advisor for Aaron Patillo-Lunt, History (since 2020)
Ph.D. Thesis Advisor for Francesca Langer, History (since 2016)
Ph.D. Thesis Advisor for Joseph Block, History (since 2015)
Ph.D. Thesis Committee Member for Samuel Finesurrey, History (Ph.D. 2018)
Ph.D. Thesis Committee Member for Joshua Tait, History (Ph.D. 2019)
Ph.D. Thesis Committee Member for Aaron Griffith, Duke University (Ph.D. 2018)
Ph.D. Thesis Committee Member for Ashley Mays, History (Ph.D. 2014)
Ph.D. Thesis Committee Member for Jennifer Donnelly, History (Ph.D. 2013)
M.A. Thesis Committee Member for Elizabeth Sawyer, History (M.A., 2013)
Undergraduate Honors Thesis Advisor for Matthew McKnight (Fall 2017—Spring 2018)
Undergraduate Honors Thesis Advisor for Elizabeth Chase (Fall 2016—Spring 2017)
Undergraduate Honors Thesis Advisor for Thomas Wolf (Fall 2013—Spring 2014)
Undergraduate Honors Thesis Advisor for Eric Medlin (Fall 2013—Spring 2014)
Additional Professional Experience
TIME Magazine, reporting intern, June-August 2003. Reported and wrote articles for the “Notebook” section.
Toledo Blade, reporting intern, June-August 2002. Reported for city and suburban news desks.
Dallas Morning News, reporting intern, March 2002. Reporter for Religion and Metropolitan desks.
Russian: reading knowledge
Old Church Slavic: limited reading knowledge
German: reading knowledge
Spanish: reading knowledge