I grew up in South Carolina and earned my Ph.D. (2010) and M.A. (2004) from the University of Georgia and B.A. from Furman University (2001). After postdoctoral fellowships at Yale University and Emory University, I joined the faculty at the University of Mississippi as Assistant Professor of History and Southern Studies.
I am the author of The Blessings of Business: How Corporations Shaped Conservative Christianity (Oxford University Press, 2016), a book that details how conservative evangelicals strategically used business leaders, organizations, methods, and money to advance their cultural and political ambitions in twentieth-century America. Published excerpts examine the big businessmen behind evangelical upstarts like Christianity Today magazine, the “Christian” business practices and activism of fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, and the role of marketing at Heritage USA, a now-defunct theme park once run by televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.
With John Corrigan and Amanda Porterfield, I am co-editor of a collection of scholarly essays that reconsiders the role of business in American religious culture and politics, titled The Business Turn in American Religious History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017). I am also putting together another collection on southern religious culture in honor of Charles Reagan Wilson, co-edited with Ted Ownby and James Thomas.
My second long-term research project, tentatively titled Hard Times in Mind: The Great Depression in American Memory, is an expansive study of how postwar Americans remembered and used the Great Depression in popular culture (music, literature, art, film), in memorial sites and veneration, and in political activism for and against the New Deal state.
In the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History and at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, I teach courses in twentieth-century U.S. history, southern history and southern studies, southern music history, American religious history, and modern U.S. politics and culture.