Associate Professor of Humanities and History
J. Russell “Rusty” Hawkins graduated from Wheaton College (IL) in 1999. After taking an M.A. in American History from Montana State University, Rusty served for a year with AmeriCorps as a literacy program coordinator in the public schools of Boston, Massachusetts. He earned his Ph.D. in American History from Rice University in 2009.
Rusty is currently working on a book manuscript titled Sacred Segregation: White Evangelicals and Civil Rights in South Carolina, which is under contract with Louisiana State University Press. Drawn from his dissertation research, the book examines the way that white Christians’ religious beliefs caused them to work against the civil rights movement in the South. He has received research grants for his book from the Southern Baptist Library and Archives, Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History, the University of South Carolina’s Institute for Southern Studies and Indiana Wesleyan University’s Lilly Scholarship Fund.
In 2010, Rusty organized a national conference held at Indiana Wesleyan University to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the publication of Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith’s book, Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America. Rusty is currently editing (with Philip Luke Sinitiere) a collection of the papers presented at that conference for a volume titled: Christians and the Color Line: Race and Religion after Divided by Faith.
Rusty began his work in the John Wesley Honors College as a postdoctoral teaching fellow. He has taught survey classes in American history and world history, as well as upper-level research seminars on the northern civil rights movement, American evangelicalism and competing religions in the black freedom struggle.
Rusty and his wife, Kristi, have two sons, Caleb and Micah. In addition to spending time with his wife and boys, he enjoys reading (obviously), running (not as often as he should), and rooting for his favorite sports teams (the Kansas Jayhawks and the Kansas City Chiefs).