Dr. Stroop Faculty Spotlight Q&A
Dr. Christopher Stroop is a visiting faculty member in the Honors College and enjoys teaching the courses Russia Between East and West and Acquisition of Knowledge. In his free time, he contributes original work to his blog on his website and publishes freelance writing and policy research. Check out the question-and-answer below to learn more about Dr. Stroop.
1) What is your educational/research background?
I got my Ph.D. in modern Russian history and interdisciplinary studies in the humanities at Stanford University in 2012, writing a dissertation about Russian religious philosophers' responses to the First World War. At the broadest level, I study modern Christian thought as religious ideology and look at its social and political impact. Currently, I am researching the impact of Russian Christian ideas about Russian history and Communism on 20th-century Western Christian thought and anti-Communism. I have always been drawn to interdisciplinary research, which is why I signed on for the Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities component of my Ph.D., which required graduate level general humanities seminars, participation in a symposium, and having an outside reader on my dissertation committee (in my case, in addition to my adviser, Robert Crews, and Nancy Kollmann, from Stanford's History Department, my outside reader was Grish Freidin, a Slavic literature scholar). My history with this kind of humanities education goes back to my undergraduate experience, where I was part of the Honors College at Ball State University.
2) What is your favorite area of study/research?
I have difficulty picking favorites in just about anything. I suppose I take the most pleasure and pride in finding ways to combine my academic knowledge with public outreach and advocacy through more popular venues and forms such as journalism, commentary, and policy research, but I also thoroughly enjoy those rare "Eureka!" moments in pure academic research, when you come across some very striking document or you simply suddenly arrive at an insight into the material you're researching. And then there are the "gems" you come across in your primary sources that you value for personal reasons, whether or not you can use them in formal publications.
3) How many years have you been working in the Honors College?
I was a Provost's Postdoctoral Scholar in the Humanities and Social Sciences during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years. While I was housed in the History Department and taught an upper level 19th-century European history survey there, during those years I also taught a Russian Studies version of the Honors College's Geographic Perspectives course called Russia Between East and West: Empire, Revolution, Ideas, Geopolitics.
4) What are all of the classes you teach in the Honors College?
As a visiting instructor in the Honors College for this current academic year, I continue to teach Russia Between East and West in addition to Acquisition of Knowledge.
5) What is your favorite class that you teach at the Honors College?
I suppose I am partial to Russia Between East and West, but I am enjoying teaching Acquisition of Knowledge too!
6) What is one lesson you want all of your students to take away from studying your
I want my students to hone their abilities to think contextually and critically and to communicate well in the form of an argument. I also want them to think about the ways their education intersects with everyday life and about how to apply the thinking skills they gain with an Honors College education as conscientious national and global citizens, how to give back.
7) What do you like about being a faculty member in the Honors College?
I like getting to work with bright students in their formative years, facilitating their intellectual development, both pushing them outside their comfort zones and being there to boost their confidence and provide mentorship as they learn to think and engage in self-guided research.
8) What activities do you like to do for fun when you're not teaching in the Honors
It's a little embarrassing to admit this, but I'm still playing PokemonGO (go Team Mystic!). I also blog at ChrisStroop.com and publish freelance writing and policy research, but for fun I like to read, and I have a few of TV series I follow, particularly Orange is the New Black and Game of Thrones. I enjoy travel and learning about various aspects of Florida, the US, and the world as well.