Global History of the American Culture Wars

Signs at the Culture War tour at the Ohio Union at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

Help me investigate the global history of the American Culture Wars.

Project description

My second book project investigates how conservative evangelicals and Catholics exported their polarizing politics across the world from the 1960s to the present. Tentatively titled Culture Warriors Abroad: A Global History of the American Culture Wars, this new project follows American culture warriors as they went overseas, taking with them their battles about race, gender, secularism, Islam, and globalization. As religious conservatives in post-1960s America felt their own country’s politics and culture slipping from their grasp, they sought to transform foreign nations in the image of what they wanted America to be—an act Edward Said describes as “projection.” They enlisted local allies—from the Russian Orthodox Church to anticommunist militias in Mozambique—in their struggle. By highlighting the international dimension of the US culture wars, the project will challenge the mistaken assumption that the culture wars were a distinctly American phenomenon, an event sui generis. The works on the culture wars typically focus on Supreme Court bans on school prayer and Bible reading, the legalization of abortion, and the fallout of the Civil Rights movement. Contrary to a literature that depicts the culture wars as evidence of American religious and cultural parochialism, I show how the polarizing politics we are so familiar with today were deeply intertwined with major global transformations, such as decolonization, the advent of human rights, and the end of the Cold War. What Republican presidential candidate Patrick J. Buchanan described as a “war for the soul of America” was also a war for the soul of the world.

I am looking for research assistants to help gather and interpret information on specific parts of this project. Assigned work could include finding primary and secondary sources, creating bibliographies, writing brief summaries of primary and secondary sources, inputting information into bibliographic or database software, and (for more advanced students with a background in history) writing brief interpretive papers. You should apply to this position if you're interested in historical research, organizing large research projects, and interpreting historical documents. Although this is not required, I am also happy to help students find conferences where they can present their research.

Project outcome

The goal of this project is the production of a book on the global history of the US culture wars.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment About 3-5 months
Start time



In-person, remote, or hybrid? Hybrid Project
Level of collaboration Individual student project
Benefits Research experience
Who is eligible All undergraduate students 

Project mentor

Gene Zubovich

Assistant Professor


Phone: (716) 645-8425


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

Please watch each of the videos on library research:


History; Historical Research; American History; US History