Faculty Profile

J Russell Hawkins

Professor; Acting Dean, John Wesley Honor College

Behavioral Sciences


J. Russell (Rusty) Hawkins graduated from Wheaton College (IL) in 1999. After earning a master's degree 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 doctorate in American History from Rice University in 2009.

In 2013 Rusty and his co-editor, Philip Luke Sinitiere published Christians and the Color Line: Race and Religion after Divided by Faith (Oxford University Press). The book was drawn from papers delivered at a 2010 conference that Rusty organized at Indiana Wesleyan University to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith's book, Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America.

Rusty is currently finishing a book manuscript titled The Bible Told Them So: Southern White Christians’ Fight against Racial Equality, which argues that white Christians' theology informed and shaped their resistance to 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.

Rusty has begun research on a new project examining the white flight of churches from urban America in the second half of the twentieth century.

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 following his favorite sports teams (Kansas basketball and the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs).

  • American Religious History
  • Race Relations
  • Civil Rights Movement
  • U.S. South

Rice University, 2009


Rice University, 2006


Montana State University, 2002


Wheaton College, 1999