Dr. Andrew R. Polk

Associate Professor | History Day Coordinator

Dr. Andrew R. Polk
615-904-8097
Room 260, Peck Hall (PH)
MTSU Box 23, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Degree Information

  • PHD, Florida State University (2013)
  • MA, Yale University (2009)
  • MA, Lipscomb University (2007)
  • BA, Lipscomb University (2003)

Areas of Expertise

American Religious History

Religion, Politics, and Race

History Pedagogy

Islamic Political Thought

Biography

Andrew R. Polk is an award-winning teacher and scholar of American religious history. He has a BA in History from Lipscomb University, an MA in Biblical Studies from Hazelip School of Theology, an MAR in the History of Christianity from Yale Divinity School, and a PhD in Religious Studies from Florida State University.  He started his career as an Assistant Professor of History and Director of Social Studies Education at Arkansas State University in 2013, but came to MTSU a year later.&n...

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Andrew R. Polk is an award-winning teacher and scholar of American religious history. He has a BA in History from Lipscomb University, an MA in Biblical Studies from Hazelip School of Theology, an MAR in the History of Christianity from Yale Divinity School, and a PhD in Religious Studies from Florida State University.  He started his career as an Assistant Professor of History and Director of Social Studies Education at Arkansas State University in 2013, but came to MTSU a year later.  A former high school teacher, he directs the history and social studies education initiatives for the Department of History and College of Liberal Arts.  He also works alongside the College of Education on several state initiatives and CAEP licensing standards.  Dr. Polk teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on American religious history, history pedagogy, and twentieth-century America.  He is especially interested in the intersection of religion, politics, and race.  He teaches using the “History Labs” model, which emphasizes primary source analysis, group projects, and investigations over traditional lectures.  He has won both the Faculty Teaching Award from the College of Liberal Arts and the MTSU Outstanding Teaching Award.  His research focusses on U.S. religion and politics, and he has published articles and essays in numerous academic journals, including Church History and Presidential Studies Quarterly, among others.  His first book, Faith in Freedom: Propaganda, Presidential Politics and the Making of an American Religion, was published in December, 2021 with Cornell University Press.  The book examines the religious propaganda campaigns of presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower.   He is currently hard at work on his second book, a biography of the civil rights worker, author, and rogue preacher Will D. Campbell.

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Awards

Selected Awards

Outstanding Teaching Award, MTSU (2019)

Faculty Teaching Award, College of Liberal Arts, MTSU (2019)

Faculty Research and Creative Activity Committee Research Grant (2015, 2019)

Dissertation Research Grant, Florida State University (2011-2012)

Hooker-Dwight Fellowship, Yale University (2008-2009)

Outstanding Future Scholar Award, Stone-Campbell Journal (2007)

Research / Scholarly Activity

Selected Publications

Faith in Freedom: Propaganda, Presidential Politics and the Making of an American Religion, (Ithica:NY, Cornell University Press, 2021)

“Divergent Interpretation: The Conflicting Hermeneutics of Contemporary Christianity” in Handbook of Contemporary Christianity in the United States: Historical, Cultural, Theological...

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Selected Publications

Faith in Freedom: Propaganda, Presidential Politics and the Making of an American Religion, (Ithica:NY, Cornell University Press, 2021)

“Divergent Interpretation: The Conflicting Hermeneutics of Contemporary Christianity” in Handbook of Contemporary Christianity in the United States: Historical, Cultural, Theological, and Ethical Explorations, Mark A. Lamport, Ed. (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2022), 144-158.

“Critical Analysis of Religious Sources: A Case Study of Christian Science Pamphlets,” in Research Methods for Primary Sources (SAGE Academic/Adam Matthew Digital, Nov, 2021) DOI: https://doi.org/10.47594/RMPS_0193

“Explaining Waco: A Primary Source Investigation of the Federal Government’s Standoff with the Branch Davidians in 1993” in Understanding and Teaching Contemporary American History since 1980, Kimber Quinney and Amy Sayward, Eds. (Madison: Wisconsin University Press, forthcoming)

"The Best Knower: Mythmaking, Fard Muhammad, and the Lost-Found Nation of Islam." The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society 10:1 (Jan, 2020), 81-93 doi:10.18848/2154-8633/CGP/v10i01/81-93.

"A Market-based Argument for Liberal Arts Degrees." Forum for Values in Higher Education, 2019:4 (July 2019)

“Faith Battling Fear: U.S. Military Chaplains and the Regulation of Fear during World War II." Journal of Academic Perspectives (Dec, 2016)

“Cold War,” in Encyclopedia of Religion and Politics in America, Ed. Phillip C. DiMare (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2016)

“Lincoln, Jefferson, and the Legacies of Religion,” Presidential Studies Quarterly, 46.2 (June 2015)

“’Unnecessary and Artificial Divisions:’ Franklin Roosevelt’s Quest for Religious and National Unity Leading Up to the Second World War.” Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture 82:3 (Sept, 2013)

“W.D. Mohammed” in Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought Ed. Gerhard Böwering, et al., (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013)

“Mormon Doctrine and Covenants” in Milestone Documents of World Religions, ed. David M. Fahey, (Dallas: Schlager Group, 2010)

Works in Progress: Book Project: God’s Own Redneck: The Life and Times of Will D. Campbell

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Courses

(Last five years)

HIST 2010: Survey of United States History I

HIST 2020: Survey of United States History II

HIST 3011: Teaching Historical Thinking

HIST 3020: Topics: U.S. Religion and Politics

HIST 3020: Topics: Race, Religion, and Rights

HIST 4650: Religious Experience in America

HIST 4840: World War II

HIST 6103/7103: Readings in Modern America

HIST 6105/7105: Research in Modern America: American Religious History

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(Last five years)

HIST 2010: Survey of United States History I

HIST 2020: Survey of United States History II

HIST 3011: Teaching Historical Thinking

HIST 3020: Topics: U.S. Religion and Politics

HIST 3020: Topics: Race, Religion, and Rights

HIST 4650: Religious Experience in America

HIST 4840: World War II

HIST 6103/7103: Readings in Modern America

HIST 6105/7105: Research in Modern America: American Religious History

HIST 6910: Selected Studies in U.S. History: Religion in Higher Education; Jewish History of the American South; Alternative Religions in the African American Experience; Masculinity and Sexuality in Mormon History; Martin, Malcolm, and the Long Civil Rights Movement; Nineteenth Century American Religion; Pre-History in Christian Higher Education; Teaching World War II

HIST 7994: Special Projects in Public History

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