Modern US history; cultural and intellectual history; history of education; public health; religion; evolution; sexuality.
Professor Moran (Ph.D. Harvard, 1996) has been broadly interested in the origins, power, and limits of secular modernity in twentieth-century America. His first book, Teaching Sex (Harvard, 2000), looks at the history of sex education as an instance of the therapeutic state’s extension into the most intimate realms of private life, but it traces as well the surprising vigor of the forces ranged against this “intrusion.” While continuing his connection to the history of sexuality, Moran has since focused on the history of evolution in the United States – a subject of particular relevance to his adopted state of Kansas. His work on the national and international controversies over evolution, including the Tennessee Scopes Trial of 1925, has been noteworthy for its use of gender, race, and geography to rearrange our framework for understanding the apparently “eternal” tension between science and religion. He is currently developing a project on the politics of medical quackery, and is interested in developing greater expertise in the history of religion.
- American Genesis: The Antievolution Controversy from the Scopes Trial to Creation Science (Oxford, 2012).
- “The Scopes Trial and Southern Fundamentalism in Black and White: Race, Region, and Religion,” Journal of Southern History LXX, No. 1 (February 2004): 95-120.
Professor Moran regularly teaches the second half of the U.S. history survey, weaving rebellion, popular culture, racial “mongrelization,”sex, and gender relations thoroughly into the warp and woof of our more conventional historical tapestry. He has advised over fifteen senior honors theses and numerous doctoral dissertations on subjects that have ranged from the cultural impact of old age, to Midwestern segregation, to student-led sexual education, to Robert Penn Warren as historian, and a shiny assortment of other fascinating investigations. He is eager for more. He regularly teaches an undergraduate seminar on the 1960s, and graduate research seminars.
- HIST 391: Topics in: Making of Modern America, 1900-1950 (Honors)
- HIST 696: Seminar in: The Sixties in America
- HIST 892: Graduate Colloquium in Modern U.S. History