Dr. Christopher Stroop
Specializing in modern Russia, religion, and the history of ideas, Dr. Christopher Stroop holds a Ph.D. in History and Humanities from Stanford University. Stanford's Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities Program offered Dr. Stroop the opportunity to continue cultivating the love for interdisciplinary inquiry and teaching that had been instilled by him as an undergraduate in the Honors College at Ball State University, from which he graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in History and German in 2003, having studied abroad in Giessen, Germany, and Oxford, U.K. After graduating from Ball State, Dr. Stroop spent an academic year teaching English and improving his Russian at the American Home in Vladimir, Russia, before going on to Stanford.
Beginning in 2012, after spending eight years in graduate school and becoming highly qualified to make stupid Russian history jokes such as "Five-Year Plan in Eight Years," Dr. Stroop spent three academic years teaching at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration in Moscow, Russia. There he continued to engage in historical research while having a front row seat to contemporary developments of historic significance, including: Russia's passage of a number of illiberal laws, Russia's annexations of Crimea, the passage of U.S. and E.U. sanctions against Russia, Russia's counter-sanctions (goodbye, Western cheese!), and the rapid devaluation of the Russian ruble (in which he was earning while striving to pay down dollar-denominated debt). Dr. Stroop brought the unique perspective gained through this unusual set of experiences into USF classrooms as a Provost's Postdoctoral Scholar in the Social Sciences and Humanities during the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 academic years. Housed in USF's History Department, Dr. Stroop taught its upper-level 19th-century European history survey in addition to teaching his Geographic Perspectives course in the Honors College, "Russia Between East and West: Empire, Revolution, Ideas, Geopolitics." Dr. Stroop continues to offer "Russia Between East and West," in addition to "Acquisition of Knowledge," as a visiting instructor in the Honors College.
Meanwhile, Dr. Stroop's research into the ideological and activist aspects of Russian religious philosophy has led him to explore not only the political and social climate of the late Russian Empire, but also the influence of Russian Christian intellectuals in exile on the development of Western approaches to Russian history and on Western religious thought and anti-Communism. This has been a natural development for Dr. Stroop, who grew up in the Christian Right, was trained to fight the culture wars through Christian schooling, and ultimately switched sides, becoming a critic of hardline Evangelical Protestantism and a key voice in an emerging ex-Evangelical movement, which is the focus of much of Dr. Stroop's blogging at ChrisStroop.com.
Tracing global conservative networks, not only in the present but also historically, is key to explaining the attraction of the contemporary American and European Right to Putinist Russia. The rise of this age of right-wing fellow travelers has perplexed many generally well-informed people, and Dr. Stroop's ability to explain it via the history of Western conservatives' admiration for Russian Christians has made him a sought after commentator, leading to his involvement in a policy discussion at Human Rights First in 2016 and to his giving a talk at Open Society Foundations in 2017. In addition to publishing foreign policy commentary with Political Research Associates and Eurasianet, Dr. Stroop has been quoted in outlets including Think Progress, The Guardian, Politico, CQ Researcher, Business Insider, and others. He has also been interviewed on BBC World Service's Newsday broadcast, and has been a regular presence on The Rick Smith Show, where he has primarily commented on the U.S. Christian Right but has also discussed its connections to Russia. Stroop is a fairly regular contributor to the online magazine Religion Dispatches and is a Senior Research Associate with Postsecular Conflicts, an international, interdisciplinary research project focusing on the global networks of the Russian Orthodox Church directed by Kristina Stoeckl and based at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.