Stephanie Muravchik is a lecturer in history at California State University San Bernardino, and an associate fellow at the Institute for Advanced Cultural Studies in Charlottesville. She received her Ph.D. in American history from the University of Virginia and was previously a fellow at the Miller Center of Public Affairs. Her scholarship explores the intersections of political culture with class, religion, and family life. Her first book “American Protestantism in an Age of Psychology” (Cambridge University Press, 2011) shows how major psycho-spiritual movements since World War II, including Alcoholics Anonymous and The Salvation Army, innovated a practical religious psychology that nurtured participants’ faith, community life, and citizenship. She, and fellow Miller Center alum Jon A. Shields, have a manuscript under review entitled, “Trump’s Democrats,” which investigates the defection of scores of long-term Democratic strongholds in the 2016 election. It is under review by Oxford.
New Creatures in Christ: American Faith in an Age of Psychology
In her dissertation, Muravchik explores how after World War II, though they did not realize it, Christians began a successful project of redeeming millions of alienated Americans by fortifying pastoral care, fellowships, and evangelism with secular ideas and techniques adapted from psychology. They thereby shepherded millions of the nation’s most disaffected citizens - especially the homeless, addicts, the sick, and the dying - into faith’s fold. Muravchik traced their efforts and its effects in three contexts: the psychiatric training of ministers, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and The Salvation Army rehabilitation centers. She ultimately argued that the model of selfhood developed in these settings, by merging individual happiness and self-determination with transcendent and communal relationships, could support an American democratic culture in the latter half of the 20th century.