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Michael J. McVicar

Assistant Professor of Religion


Departmental Area: American Religious History
Research Areas:Contemporary Religious History in the US, Religion and Politics, Theory and Method in Religious Studies
Address: Department of Religion
641 University Way / P.O. Box 3061520
The Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-1520
Office: 107A Dodd Hall
Email: mmcvicar@fsu.edu
Office Hours: Thursdays 9:00-10:00 and by appointment.

Curriculum Vitae


Michael J. McVicar researches the relationship between religion and politics in twentieth-century U.S. history, with a specific focus on the emergence of the American conservative movement in the post-World War II era. Since receiving his PhD from the Ohio State University in 2010 he has taught courses on contemporary evangelicalism, theory and method in religious studies, and gender and sexuality in religion.

McVicar's current research focuses on the interaction between religion, domestic surveillance by non-governmental organizations, and the development of political and social conservatism in twentieth century American culture. The project explores how religious pressure groups in the U.S. assembled massive archives of information about a range of perceived “threats” to the American political and social system.


Christian Reconstruction: R. J. Rushdoony and American Religious Conservatism. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2015.

Reviewed in American Theological Inquiry, Books and Culture, Faith For All of Life, First Things, H-Net, International Center for Home Education Research (ICHER) Review

Research in progress:
God’s Watchmen: Domestic Intelligence Gathering and Religious Activism During the Cold War. Under contract with the University of North Carolina Press.

Articles and Chapters:
“Apostles of Deceit: Ecumenism, Fundamentalism, and the Contested Loyalties of Protestant Clergy During the Cold War.” In Religion and the FBI: Faith and National Security before and after 9/11, edited by Sylvester A. Johnson and Steve Weitzman. Berkeley: University of California Press, forthcoming 2017.

The Religious Right in America.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion, edited by John Barton. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

“Take away the Serpents from Us: The Sign of Serpent Handling in the Development of Southern Pentecostalism,” Journal of Southern Religion, 15 (2013).

‘Let Them have Dominion:’ ‘Dominion Theology’ and the Construction of Religious Extremism in the U.S. Media,” Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, 25 (Spring 2013): 120-145.

"Aggressive Philanthropy: Progressivism, Conservatism, and the William Volker Charities Fund," The Missouri Historical Review 105 (July 2011), 191-212. Awarded the Missouri Conference on History 2012 Article Award.

The Libertarian Theocrats: The Long, Strange History of R.J. Rushdoony and Christian Reconstructionism,” The Public Eye Magazine (Fall 2007), 3-10.

Research Interests

  • Religious Studies
  • American Religious History
  • Religion and Politics
  • American Conservatism


Spring 2017

REL3128-3 Topics: Violence & New Religious Movements
This class investigates the role of new religious movement (NRMs) in American culture and history. The course will introduce students to the critical assessment of the category of new religious movement and consider its relationship to other conceptual categories such as cult, emergent religion, or alternative religious movement. The course will explore scholarly studies that examine specific traditions within the NRM paradigm. Traditions covered in this section of the course will include pagan revivals, revolutionary millenarian movements, UFO “cults,” and racialist movements.  Meets Liberal Studies: History (LS-HIS).

REL3145 Gender and Religion / Prof. McVicar & Staff
This course considers the impact of gender on religion. Includes cross-cultural studies, theoretical works, and gender issues within religious traditions. Meets LS Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity in cross cultural studies (DIV-XCC).

Fall 2016

REL3145        Gender and Religion                                                                            Dr. McVicar & Staff
This course considers the impact of gender on religion.  Includes cross-cultural studies, theoretical works, and gender issues within religious traditions.  Meets LS Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity in cross cultural studies (DIV-XCC). 

RLG5035        SEM: Introduction to the Study of Religion 
A graduate introduction to the history, present status, principal issues, and methodologies in the academic study of religion.