I am a social and cultural historian, centered on the United States in the twentieth century, but extending my work forward to the present and backward well into the nineteenth century. My research interests have focused on the rich and complex intersection between religion, media and culture, and the cultural implications of media and other socially constructed technologies. In my first book, Redeeming the Dial: Radio, Religion, and Popular Culture in America (UNC Chapel Hill, 2002), I told the story of radio evangelism during radio’s Golden Age, exploring some of the medium’s early innovators as well as the devotional culture of their listeners.
Book in progress: Squarely on the Wrong Side of History: Massive Resistance and the Struggle for Southern Schools [working title]
My current research project probes the widespread conception of the “wrong side of history” through focused attention to several case studies of Southern communities that closed their schools rather than integrate them in the wake of the 1954 Brown v. Board decision, and the subsequent rise of white private academies including those that self-identified as Christian schools. The book will explore the religious, cultural and ethical dimensions of massive resistance as a window onto the moral economy of historical memory, taking the story from the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s.