Assistant Professor of Sociology

Arkansas State University, PO Box 2410, State University, Arkansas 72467

(870) 972-3262 / rbarrettfox@astate.edu / anygoodthing.com



Ph.D. in American Studies (with honors), University of Kansas

M.A. in American Studies, University of Kansas

B.A. in English & Human Studies (summa cum laude), Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA




God Hates: Westboro Baptist Church, the Religious Right, and American Nationalism.

University Press of Kansas, 2016.



“The Bible and the Religious Right.” Handbook of the Bible in America. Oxford University Press. Edited by Paul Gutjahr. In press.

“Women in Conservative Christianity.” Introduction to Women’s Studies Reader. OxfordUniversity Press. Edited by Ayu Saraswati. In press.

“The 4th R: Encountering Conservative Christianity in the Classroom,” Thought & Action. In press.

“Money Talks: Bible Teaching on Personal Finance, Debt, and Economic Policy.” Under review.



Editor, The Journal of Hate Studies, “Hate and Heritage” Special Issue (Nov. 2016).

“Recruiting Soldiers in the Army of God: A Content Analysis of an Extremist Anti-Abortion YouTube Archive.” Article in progress. Funded by National Institute of Justice.

“Defying Stereotype: Christian Romance Novel Readers.” The Ashgate Research Companion to Popular Romance. Edited by Eric Selinger, Hsu-Ming Teo, amd Jayashree Kamblé.


“Christian Romance Novels: Inspiring Convention and Challenge,” in  Romance Fiction and American Culture: Love as the Practice of Freedom? Edited by William Gleason and Eric Selinger. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Press, 2016.

“The Rise of Anti-Gay Religious Right Activism in the U.S.: A Review of Major Sociological Theories,” in Globalized Religion and Sexual Identity: Policies, Voices and Contexts. Edited by Heather Shipley.  Boston: Brill, 2014.

“Congress at the Kitchen Table: Religious Right Applications of Moral Home Economics to Federal Economic Policy,” in  The Great Recession in Fiction, Film, and Television: Twenty- First Century Bust Culture. Edited by Kirk Boyle and Daniel Mrozowski, 211-232.  New York: Lexington Books, 2013.

“Anger and Compassion on the Picket Line:  Ethnography and Emotion in the Study of Westboro Baptist Church,”  The Journal of Hate Studies 9, no. 1 (2010/11).

“Hope Faith and Toughness: An Analysis of the Christian Hero” in   Empowerment versus Oppression: 21st Century Views of Popular Romance Novels. Edited by Sally Goade, 93-102. New Castle, U.K.: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007.

“Remodeling the ‘University of Destruction’: Conflicts between Academic Workers andConservative Christians in American Universities,” Proteus: A Journal of Ideas 23, no. 2 (Oct. 2006): 1-8.

“Higher Love: What Women Gain from Christian Romance Novels,” The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture 4 (Summer 2003).


“The Theology of Westboro: The ‘World’s Meanest Church’ is More than Picket Signs.” Religion Dispatches, Sept. 2, 2016.

“The Author’s Corner with Rebecca Barrett-Fox,” interview with John Fea, The Way of Improvement Leads Home, Aug. 25, 2016.

“Hate Groups,” in The American Middle Class: An Economic Encyclopedia of Progress andPoverty. Edited by Robert S. Rycroft. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press, forthcoming.

7 Women Scholars on the Gender Divide in Religious Studies, the Power of Mentors, and Leading While Female, ”  [Wendi Adamek, Nancy Ammerman, , Elaine Howard Ecklund, Serene Jones, Peggy Levitt, Laura Maffly-Kipp, and Ann Taves].  Religion Dispatches. Nov. 21, 2015.

God Hates Nags: Why in God’s name is Westboro Baptist Protesting Kim Davis?” Religion Dispatches, Oct. 19, 2015.

“KIM DAVIS CAUSED GAY MARRIAGE! Westboro Baptist Church and Religious Anti-Gay Politics,” Interview by Kelsy Burke, Girl w/Pen, a blog of The Society Pages, Sept.16, 2015.

“When Congregation-based Activism is… Complicated.” Studying Congregations, Aug. 11, 2015.

“The Americanization of Religious Minorities.” Entry in the Theory and Religion Series of Religion Bulletin. Mar. 25, 2015.

“American Family Association,” “Baptism,” “Covenant Marriage,” and “Family Research Council,” Social History of American Families. Edited by Marilyn J. Coleman and Lawrence H. Ganong. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Reference. 2014.

“When the Founder Dies: Westboro Baptist Church in the Aftermath of Pastor Fred Phelps’ Passing.” Interview by David G. Bromley, World Religions and Spiritual Project, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2014.

Duck Dynasty Patriarch, Hero of the Christian Right,”  Religion Dispatches, Dec. 23, 2013.

“A Response to ‘Evidentiary Boundaries and Improper Interventions: Evidence, Implications, and Illegitimacy in American Religious Studies,” Bulletin for the Study of Religion, July 29, 2013.

“Christian Romance Novels,”  The Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception.  Edited by Dale C. Alison, Jr., et al. Berlin: Verlag de Gruyter, 2013. Choice Outstanding Academic Title.

“A Bill Passes, Westboro Baptists Shrug,” Religion Dispatches, Aug. 8, 2012.

“Gay-Hating Church Burns ‘Idols’: A Report,” Religion Dispatches, Sept. 13, 2010.

“Tunnel of Reification: How the Tunnel of Oppression Reaffirms Righteousness for Members of Dominant Groups,” Radical Teacher 80 (Winter 2007): 24-29.


David Weaver-Zercher, _Martyrs Mirror_ review American Studies 56:3-4. (June 2018).

Alison Collis Greene, No Depression in Heaven: The Great Depression, the New Deal, and the Transformation of Religion in the Delta. Reading Religion. (Sept. 2016).

Lisa S. Shaver,  Beyond the Pulpit: Women’s Rhetorical Roles in the Antebellum Religious Press. Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies 45 no. 3 (2014): 194-196.

Clara S. Lewis, Tough on Hate? The Cultural Politics of Hate Crimes Legislation, American Studies 53 no. 4 (2014): 142-143.

Susan Crawford Sullivan, Living Faith: Everyday Religion and Mothers in Poverty, American Studies 53, no. 3 (2014): 92-93.

Thomas R. Pegram, One Hundred Percent American: The Rebirth and Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s and Arthur Goldwag, The New Hate: A History of Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right, The Journal of Hate Studies 10, no. 1 (2012), 221-229. [Review essay].

Tobin Shearer Miller, Daily Demonstrators: The Civil Rights Movement in Mennonite Homes and Sanctuaries, Journal of American History 99, no. 2 (Sept.2012): 662-663.

Robert Wuthnow, Red State Religion: Faith and Politics in America’s Heartland  , Christian Century (Aug. 13, 2012): 40-41.

Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell,  American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, Journal of Communication and Religion 35, no. 1 (Spring 2012): 93-96.

Mark D. Naison, White Boy, Radical Teacher 71 (Winter 2004): 10-11.


January 2015, National Parks Service, “Rohwer Reconstructed: Interpreting Place through Experience.” ~$20,000, Oral historian

January 2015, National Institute of Justice, “Radicalization on the Internet: Virtual Extremism in the U.S. from 2012 – 2017.” $796, 906, Co-Investigator

2014-2016, Title IV-E Grant, “Academic Partnership in Public Child Welfare,” Co-Investigator

August 2014, The Bible in American Life Conference, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’ Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, $1000

July 2014, William Coolidge Fellowship, CrossCurrents Research Colloquium

November 2013, Travel Grant, Danforth Center for Religion & Politics, $800

2013-2014, Doing Disability Seminar participant, Arkansas State University

July 2013, Outstanding Paper Award, Society for Values in Higher Education

Fall 2010,  Dissertation Fellowship, KU Graduate School

2010, Norm & Anne Yetman Dissertation Fellowship, KU American Studies

Summer 2008, Summer Grant, KU Graduate School

2005, University Women’s Fellowship, University of Kansas





April 2016, Southern Sociological Society, Atlanta

“Recruiting Soldiers in the Army of God: A Content Analysis of Anti-Abortion Online Archives”


March 2016, Mid-America American Studies Association, Lawrence, Kansas

“Soldier for the Lord, Warrior for the Babies: Canonization in the Army of God”


October 2015, American Studies Association, Toronto

“Homo- and Heteronormativity in Anti- Anti-Gay Activism”


August 2015, American Sociological Association and Association for the Sociology of Religion,

Chicago; joint panel of the ASA and ASR

“Standing Up to (Some Kinds of) Hate: Ambivalence in Community Responses to Westboro

Baptist Church”


March 2015, Southern Sociological Society, New Orleans

“Radicalization on the Internet: A Virtual Ethnography of Domestic Extremism and Hate” (presenter), with Matt Costello and Thomas Ratliff


March 2015, Midwest Sociological Society, Kansas City

“Taking the Sociological Imagination Public: Revising the Goals of the Capstone Course,” with

Gretchen Hill (presenter)


November 2014, Arkansas Sociology and Anthropology Association, University of Central


“Rubbing Religion the Wrong Way: Teaching in the Context of Conservative Protestantism”


August 2014, The Bible in American Life, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’

Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture

“Money Talks: Biblical Teaching on Personal Finance, Debt, and Economic Policy”


November 2013, American Studies Association, Washington, D.C.

“Congress at the Kitchen Table: Religious Right Applications of Moral Home Economics to Federal Economic Policy”


April 2011, Institute for Hate Studies Bi-Annual Conference, Spokane, Washington

“Anger and Compassion on the Picket Line: Ethnography and Emotion in the Study of Westboro

Baptist Church”


October 2011, American Studies Association, Baltimore, Maryland

“The Straight American Hero: Opposition to Military Funeral Pickets as Honoring the



November 2010, American Studies Association, San Antonio, Texas Chair, New Directions in American Christian Material Culture Studies Re-engaging Colleen McDannell’s Material Christianity, featuring respondent Colleen McDannell


April 2010, Mid-American Humanities Council Conference, Lawrence, Kansas

“Savior or Anti-Christ? Barack Obama in the Religious Right Imagination”


March 2010, Graduate Research Symposium, Lawrence, Kansas

“Civility, Civil Liberties, and the Challenge of Westboro Baptist Church”


April 2009, Mid-America American Studies Association Conference, Iowa City, Iowa

“A Womb of One’s Own: The Difficulties of Embryo Adoption for the Religious Right”


March 2009, Middle Atlantic American Studies Association Conference, Elizabethtown, PA “Westboro Baptist Church versus Every Decent American Citizen: What Public Response to Snyder v. Phelps Reveals about American Heteronationalism”


October 2008, American Studies Association, Albuquerque, New Mexico

“‘Pray Not for this People for their Good’: Westboro Baptist, the Religious Right, and the

American Nation”


October 2007, American Studies Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“‘America: A Sodomite Nation of Flag-Worshipping Idolaters’: Examining the Claim that

Deviant Sexual Practices Will Destroy America”


March 2007, First North American Conference on Global Radicalism, East Lansing, MI

“Pacifism at the Fringe: The Anti-War Messages of Westboro Baptist Church, Topeka, Kansas”


April 2006, Mid-America American Studies Association Conference, St. Louis, Missouri “‘God Hates’ and ‘Fags’: The Not-So-Shocking Shock Speech of Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church”


September 2005, Interdisciplinary Scholars Initiative, Lawrence, Kansas

“‘Apostate Nation’: Geographic Metaphors of Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church”


March 2005, New Literacies Conference, Lawrence, Kansas

“Strategies for Incorporating Local Culture into the College Classroom”


October 2003, Feminism(s) and Rhetoric(s), Columbus, Ohio

“(Christian) Women in Love: Conventional Language and Personal Experience in the Lives of Christian Romance Readers”


April 2003, New England American Studies Association, Hartford, Connecticut

“Higher Love: What Women Gain from Christian Romance Novels”


March 2003, Cultural Studies Symposium at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas “Sentiment and Sympathy: Reading Christian Romance Novels”



August 2016, “God Hates,” Kansas City Public Library Lecture Series.


April 2016, Criminology, Sociology, and Geography Symposium, Arkansas State University

“The Uses of Religious Freedom and Trans Panic”


April 2016, Gender Seminar, Hall Center for the Humanities, University of Kansas

“Women Soldiers in the Culture Wars: Kim Davis, the Women of Westboro Baptist Church, and

Anti-Gay Activism”


April 2016, Eden Theological Seminary, HT126: Religion in American

“Tragic, Comic, and Burlesque Responses to Westboro Baptist Church”


March 2015, Social Work 4363: Religion and Spirituality in Social Work Practice, Arkansas

State University

“Religion in Arkansas: A Snapshot of Diversity”


March 2015, Multicultural Center, Arkansas State University

“Red Wolf Religiosity”


October 2015, Love Between the Covers Panel Discussion, Arkansas State University

“Researching Christian Romance Novels and their Readers”


October 2015, Title IV-E Grant Lunch and Learn, Arkansas State University

“The State of LGBTQ+ Families and Youth”


September 2015, Feminist Union, Arkansas State University

“The Place of Men in Feminist Organizations”


April 2015, Criminology, Sociology, and Geography Symposium, Arkansas State University

“United Against What? Ambivalence in Protests of Anti-Queer Activism”


March 2015, Eden Theological Seminary, HT126: Religion in American

“Ways of Standing Up to Homophobia”


November 2014, Social Work 3343: Child Welfare and Neglect, Arkansas State University

“Religiously-Justified Child Abuse”


October 2014, Rutgers University, Income Inequality in U.S. Politics and Culture Conference “Saving Ourselves: Cynicism and Self-Help in Christian Money Management and Social Welfare Policy”


August 2014, American Sociological Association, San Francisco

“Debt Shaming: Internalized Classism among Financial Peace University Students” (roundtable)


April 2014, Fair Housing Conference, Little Rock, Arkansas

“National Origins and Diversity in Arkansas: Patterns, Puzzles, and Possibilities”


March 2013, Criminology, Sociology, and Geography Symposium, Arkansas State University

“Responding in Love: Countermessaging Westboro Baptist Church’s Funeral Pickets”


March 2013, Doing Disability Seminar, Arkansas State University

“Giving Birth, Preparing for Death: Birthing Babies with ‘Incompatible with Life’ Diagnoses”


March 2013, College of Humanities and Social Sciences Spring Seminar, Arkansas State


“Poverty, Debt, and Shame: Motivation to Change, Motivation to Shame in Dave Ramsey’s

Conservative Protestantism”


October 2013, Multicultural Center, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas

“Women’s Sexuality: Rights and Responsibilities” [panelist]


March 2013, Wright State University-Lake Campus, Celina, Ohio

“Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Class, and Sexuality: Identifying Privilege”


September 2012, Hate Studies Symposium, Institute for Hate Studies, Washington D.C.

“Updates in Scholarly Literature about Hate”


September 2012: Bethel College Mennonite Church, Newton Kansas

“Religion, Politics, and Sex: Westboro Baptist Church as the Religious Right’s Radical Flank”


November 2011: Bethel College’s Convocation Speaker Series, Newton, Kansas

“Giving Jesus a Bad Name: Christian Responses to Westboro Baptist Church”


April 2011: American Identities Honors Course, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

“Innovations in Ethnographic Methodologies: Studying Westboro Baptist Church”


April 2011: Gonzaga University School of Law, Spokane, Washington

Invited Lecture, “Why Picket? Theological Thinking and Westboro Baptist Church,”


April 2011: Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington

Invited Lecture, “Understanding Westboro Baptist Church,” Political Philosophy,



2012-Present  American Sociological Association member

2011-Present  Book review editor, Journal of Hate Studies

2007-Present   American Studies Association, member

2015-2016     Women and Gender Studies Director, Arkansas State University

2011-2013      Religion & American Culture Caucus Co-Chair, American Studies Association

2012-2013      Faculty Council, Hesston College

Occasional reviewer: Social Problems, American Studies, Girl: An Interdisciplinary Journal



2013-present, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Arkansas State University

2011-2013, Professor, Social Sciences, Hesston College, Hesston, Kansas

2007-2011, Instructor and Trainer, Graduate Writing Program, University of Kansas

Summer 2009, Lecturer, American Studies, University of Kansas

2007-2008, Graduate Intern, Freshman-Sophomore English Program, University of Kansas

2002-2005, Instructor, American Studies, University of Kansas


100 and 200 level courses

  • Introduction to sociology
  • Sociology of families
  • Social diversity
  • Social psychology
  • Understanding America
  • US History I & II
  • Cultural anthropology

Advanced Undergraduate Courses

  • Social science research methods
  • Sociology of religion
  • Sociology of sexuality
  • Senior research seminar
  • History of US religion
  • Sex, Religion, & Politics in the Contemporary U.S
  • Applied Research

Graduate courses

  • Thesis writing workshop
  • Dissertation writing workshop

Please request my teaching portfolio for detailed syllabi, signature assignments, assessment plans, reflections, and samples of student work with my feedback.


  • Course-level assessment Program-level assessment Developing student writing
  • Strengthening student research skills
  • Supervising student research
  • Course design Online learning Test design
  • Teaching in high-conflict classrooms


REFERENCES available upon request



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