Joshua Paddison


Joshua Paddison, 2021

Senior Lecturer
Office: Taylor Murphy 6


Curriculum Vitae

Educational Background
Ph.D. - UCLA
M.A. - San Francisco State University
B.A. - University of Oregon

My research focuses on race, ethnicity, and religion in nineteenth-century America, especially in the North American West. My book American Heathens: Religion, Race, and Reconstruction in California was published by the University of California Press in 2012. The book examines contestations over the place of Native Americans and Chinese Americans from the Civil War to the 1890s, demonstrating the centrality of religion in racial formation and the importance of the West in the story of Reconstruction. My second book, “Unholy Sensations: Sex, Scandal, and California's First Cult Scare,” is under contract with Oxford University Press. It explores an international 1890s sex scandal that surrounded the Brotherhood of the New Life, a multi-racial spiritualist community in northern California. In 2010 I was selected as an American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Postdoctoral Fellow. From 2010-2012 I was a Young Scholar of American Religion Fellow at IUPUI’s Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture. I have twice been selected as a participant in symposiums sponsored by the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University: "Civil War Wests" (2013-2014) and "Religion in the North American West" (2022-2023).

Select Publications

“The Mystery of Everything Out There: Bigfoot and Religion in the Twenty-First Century,” in Darryl Caterine and John W. Morehead, eds., The Paranormal and Popular Culture: A Postmodern Religious Landscape, 78-91 (New York: Routledge, 2019)

Monsters in teh Classroom“Studying Gods and Monsters,” in Adam Golub and Heather Richardson Hayton, eds., Monsters in the Classroom: Essays on Teaching What Scares Us, 161-73 (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2017)

Civil War Wests“Race, Religion, and Naturalization: How the West Shaped Citizenship Debates in the Reconstruction Congress,” in Adam Arenson and Andrew Graybill, eds., Civil War Wests: Testing the Limits of the United States, 181-201 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015)

“New Directions in the History of Religion and Race,” American Quarterly 68 (2016): 1007-17

“Disorderly Doctrines: Religion, Race, and the Fountaingrove Sex Scandal of 1891-1892,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 14 (October 2015): 475-502

American Heathen, Book CoverAmerican Heathens: Religion, Race, and Reconstruction in California (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2012)

“‘Woman Is Everywhere the Purifier’: The Politics of Temperance, 1878-1900,” in Robert W. Cherny, Mary Ann Irwin, and Ann Marie Wilson, eds., California Women and Politics: From the Gold Rush to the Great Depression, 59-76 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2011)

“Anti-Catholicism and Race in Post-Civil-War San Francisco,” Pacific Historical Review 78 (Fall 2009): 505-44

Courses Taught

History 1310 | U.S. History to 1877
History 1320 | U.S. History, 1877-Date
History 2311 | History of World Civilizations to 1500
History 2312 | History of World Civilizations, 1500-Date
History 3346 | Era of the Civil War and Reconstruction
History 3352 | American West
History 3374 | U.S. Religious History
HON 3399 | Comics, Cartoons, and Contested Racial Identities in U.S. History