Hailing from Kansas, Randall J. Stephens is Professor of American and British Studies at the University of Oslo; prior to that, he was Associate Professor and Reader in history and American Studies at Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, from 2012 to 2018. Stephens is a historian of religion, the South, environmentalism, politics, and popular culture and music in Britain and America. He is the author The Fire Spreads: Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South (2008); a coauthor, with physicist Karl Giberson, of The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age (2011); and the editor of Recent Themes in American Religious History (2009). His latest book, The Devil’s Music: How Christians Inspired, Condemned, and Embraced Rock 'n' Roll (2018), examines the tensions between Anglo-American rock music and American Christianity. In part, the book explores the powerful fusion of conservatism and popular culture whose effects are still felt today. Stephens has written for the Atlantic, Salon, the Wilson Quarterly, History Today, Christian Century, the Conversation the Independent, the Chronicle of Higher Ed, and the New York Times. He has been interviewed for news and culture programs on the BBC; NPR; Sky News; Al Jazeera; the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, FM4; and Utah's KBYU-FM 89.1. He edited the magazine Historically Speaking as well as the Journal of Southern Religion. In 2011-2012 he was a Fulbright Roving Scholar in American studies in Norway.
This talk examines the ways that the environmental disaster of the Dust Bowl on the Great Plains altered and redefined American life and culture. The focus is on the ecological and environmental impact, cultural responses, migration, religion, politics, and more.