I am an associate professor of history at Trinity University. A diplomatic historian by training, I have research interests in the history of U.S. foreign relations, religion, and the international human rights movement. At Trinity, I teach courses on modern United States history, U.S. diplomatic history, and public history. I am also the director of the Museum Studies Minor and the director of the Diplomacy, Security, War, and Peace Studies concentration in the International Studies major.
My first book, To Bring the Good News to All Nations: Evangelical Influence on Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Relations, was published with Cornell University Press in 2020. The book illuminates the complex and significant ways in which religion and religious groups interacted with foreign policy, political culture, and the international human rights regime to shape America’s role in the modern world. It examines the growth and influence of politically-conservative Christian foreign policy lobbying groups in the United States beginning in the 1970s, assessing the effectiveness of their efforts to attain foreign aid for favored regimes and to impose economic and diplomatic sanctions on those nations that persecuted Christians and stifled evangelism. It also gauges the effect that evangelical involvement and American policy had on society and politics in Guatemala, South Africa, and the Soviet Union. These cases reveal the extent of Christian influence on American foreign policy, the outcome of these policies on the ground, and the seemingly paradoxical support that evangelicals lent to repressive authoritarian regimes in the name of human rights.
I am currently working on a new monograph about the political, moral, and strategic dynamics of U.S. foreign aid, which will delve into the Congressional debates and alliances that shaped U.S. foreign assistance and engagements abroad during the twentieth century. Additionally, I am co-editing a Routledge Handbook with Cara Burnidge on the history of religion and politics in the United States.
I earned my doctorate in history from the University of Virginia in 2015, and I hold a degree in museum studies from New York University as well as a degree in history from Vassar College. In addition to my research and teaching, I have professional experience in public history, museum exhibition design, and instructional technology.