Research & Publications


Making the Bible Belt: Texas Prohibitionists and the Politicization of Southern Religion
(New York: Oxford University Press, 2017)

***Available now for pre-order from Oxford University Press and Amazon.com***

By reconstructing the religious crusade to achieve prohibition in Texas, Making the Bible Belt reveals how southern religious leaders overcame longstanding anticlerical traditions and built a powerful political movement that injected religion irreversibly into public life. H.L. Mencken coined “the Bible Belt” in the 1920s to capture the peculiar alliance of religion and public life in the American South, but the reality he described was only the closing chapter of a long historical process. Through the politics of prohibition, and in the face of bitter resistance, a complex but shared commitment to expanding the power and scope of religion transformed southern evangelicals’ inward-looking restraints into an aggressive, self-assertive, and unapologetic political activism. By exploring the controversies surrounding the religious support of prohibition in Texas, Making the Bible Belt reconstructs the purposeful, decades-long campaign to politicize southern religion, hints at the historical origins of the religious right, and explores a compelling and transformative moment in American history.



The American Yawp: The Free and Online, Collaboratively Built American History Textbook (Online; Stanford University Press, Forthcoming 2018)

Available online (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Over 350 academic historians collaborated on a massive scale to produce the American Yawp, a free and online, collaboratively built, open American history textbook released for the 2015-2016 academic year. It has been adopted at dozens of institutions and has attracted hundreds of thousands of unique users in its first full year, proving the viability of combining open resources with large-scale academic cooperation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, textbook prices have jumped fifteenfold over the past 40 years, three times the rate of inflation. The College Board has found that the typical student now spends $1,200 every year on textbooks and supplies. Moreover, community colleges and other educational institutions catering to nontraditional or first-generation college students still rely heavily on traditional textbooks: the very students least able to afford these ever-increasing costs are the most likely to bear them. By harnessing the collective capacity of the historical profession, and by opening quality material for all, the American Yawp is reshaping the production and distribution of educational resources.