Academic Writings


Academic Articles

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“For Human Rights Abroad, Against Jim Crow at Home: the Political Mobilization of American Ecumenical Protestants in the World War II Era” (Journal of American History)

“What did the Federal Council of Churches and its allies do about racism at home and human rights abroad? The 1948 list of human rights was not mere lip service to racial equality: the language appeared in court briefs filed by the FCC in efforts to desegregate churches, hospitals, universities, and denominations; in congressional testimony; and as justification for protests. In the 1940s, ecumenical Protestants began desegregating their own institutions, joining lawsuits against segregation, lobbying politicians, and helping shape the UN and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The FCC was involved in virtually every significant debate over racism and colonialism during the 1940s.”

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“American Protestants and the Era of Anti-Racist Human Rights”(Journal of the History of Ideas)

"American ecumenical Protestants were at the forefront of developing the 1940s-era language of human rights and they shaped how these rights were understood in their country. A doctrine called “personalism,” which originated among Methodists in Boston University’s philosophy department at the turn of the century, was the most fully articulated defense of the ideas behind human rights in the ecumenical Protestant milieu during the 1940s. Over four decades, personalism was transformed into the social doctrine of human rights, as its language of “dignity,” “human family,” and the “human person” was invoked in the debates over racism and colonialism in the interwar era.”

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“The Protestant Search for ‘the Universal Christian Community’ between Decolonization and Communism” (Religions)

“The clash between Protestant universalism and the particular demands of Protestants in the Global South took place in what Protestant intellectuals saw as a competition with socialism, whose banner would be taken up by the USSR following WWI. Rather than simply being anti-communist, Protestant intellectuals were deeply enmeshed with this secular state and its ideology, which they condemned and praised, fought and mimicked. This article argues that Protestant intellectuals worked out their conflicting ideological instincts about their religion and its relationship to ethno-nationalism through their relationship with the Soviet Union and other communist nations.”