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Grant number like: FT-254546-17

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Michael Joseph McVicar, PhD
Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL 32306-0001)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2017 – 7/31/2017

A History of Religious Activism and Intelligence Gathering in the U.S. after the Civil War

Writing of a book on the surveillance of political and religious opponents by American Christian organizations between the Civil War and the early 21st century.

“God’s Watchers” seeks to rethink the history of religion in the United States by focusing on the problem of surveillance in American culture. Unlike recent works in American religious history that focus on the problems of secularism and the legal boundaries of church and state, this project concentrates on techniques of surveillance to argue that historians have paid far too much attention to problems of belief, theology, and legal precedent while paying far too little attention to the mechanisms of social regulation and policing that have characterized American religious organizations. The resulting narrative offers a complex story of overlapping alliances between religious activists and law enforcement agents, violent conflict between business interests and the forces of organized labor, and the mixing and melding of the agents of church, state, and voluntary associations into a dense tangle of political intrigue and social upheaval.