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Dr Randall J. Stephens

Reader in History (American Studies);  Programme Leader in American Studies

Contact details:
Department of Humanities
Northumbria University
Lipman Building, room 327
Newcastle upon Tyne
phone: +44 (0) 191 243 7848
fax: +44 (0) 191 227 3696


Randall Stephens was appointed Reader in History/American Studies at Northumbria in 2012. Born and raised in Kansas, Stephens writes and teaches about the American South, religion in the US, and popular music. He is editor of the history magazine Historically Speaking and associate editor of the journal Fides et Historia. Stephens is the author of The Fire Spreads: Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South (Harvard University Press, 2008) and The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age, co-authored with Karl Giberson (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press). In spring 2012 he was a Fulbright Roving Scholar in American Studies in Norway. He has also written for the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Wilson Quarterly, the Atlantic blog, and the Christian Century.  


Ph.D., American History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
MA, History, Emporia State University, Emporia, KS
MA, Theological Studies, Nazarene Theological Seminary, Kansas City, MO  

Teaching Interests

Modern US History, 19th Century America, the US South, Religion in the US, American Popular Music

Research Interests

American religious history, United States South, Pentecostalism, American popular music, cultural history, conservatism 

Randall is currently working on A Primary Source Reader on Rock Music, with Brian Ward.

Research Students

 Randall has been an external examiner on two PhDs. He is currently a committee member for one PhD and a co-supervisor of two others at Northumbria.

Affiliations and Memberships

American Historical Association

American Society of Church History

Historical Society

Conference on Faith and History

Southern Historical Association

Coordinator of Northumbria University US History Research Group 

Awards and Fellowships

2014-2015: Lynn E. May, Jr., Study Grant, Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, Nashville, Tennessee

2013-2016: Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer.

2012: Fulbright Roving Scholar, Norway ($25,000).

2010: Fellow, Wesleyan Center for 21st Century Studies, Point Loma Nazarene University (May-June 2010).

2009: The Wesleyan Theological Society’s Timothy L. Smith and Mildred Bangs Wynkoop Book Award for The Fire Spreads.

2008: John Templeton Foundation grant for The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age, co-authored with Karl Giberson ($15,000).

2007-2009: Young Scholars in American Religion Fellowship, Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis ($1,600).

2002-03: Louisville Institute for the Study of Protestantism and American Culture grant for The Fire Spreads: Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South (Funded by the Lilly Endowment, $17,000).

Select Publications

The Devil’s Music: Christianity and Rock since the 1950s (under contract, Harvard University Press)

[with Karl Giberson] The Anointed: American Evangelical Experts (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011).

[as bibliographic editor], The Columbia Guide to Religion in American History, eds. Paul Harvey and Edward Blum (Columbia University Press, 2012).

[as editor] Recent Themes in American Religious History, Historians in Conversation Series (University of South Carolina Press, 2009).

The Fire Spreads: Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South (Harvard University Press, 2008).

Chapters and Articles:
'"Ohio villains" and "pretenders to new revelations": Wesleyan Abolitionists in North Carolina and Virginia, 1847-1857', in Festschrift for Bertram Wyatt-Brown (University Press of Florida, 2011).

'The Holiness/Pentecostal/Charismatic Extension of the Wesleyan Tradition', in The Cambridge Companion to John Wesley (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Sam Jones' Own Book, 1886. With a New Introduction by Randall J. Stephens. Southern Classics Series (University of South Carolina Press, 2009).

'"There is Magic in Print": The Holiness Pentecostal Press and the Origins of Southern
Pentecostalism', in Southern Crossroads: Perspectives on Southern Religion and Culture
(University of Kentucky Press, 2008).

'Interpreting American Pentecostal Origins: Retrospect and Prospect' in Interpreting Denominational History: Perspectives on the Past, Prospects for the Future (University of Alabama Press, 2008).

Please click here for a full list of publications.

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