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Christopher Strain is Professor of American Studies at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University. A historian by training, he specializes in recent U.S. history with an emphasis in African-American history. His research interests include civil rights, hate crime, violence, the American Dream, and the 1960s.


He is the author of four books: Pure Fire: Self-Defense as Activism in the Civil Rights Era (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2005), Burning Faith: Church Arson in the American South (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2008), Reload: Rethinking Violence in American Life (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2010), and The Long Sixties: America, 1955-1973 (New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016).

In addition to his books, he has published work in several edited volumes and journals, including The American Historical Review, The Journal of American History, The Journal of Southern History, The Journal of African American History, The Journal of Civil and Human Rights, The Journal of Hate Studies, The Florida Historical Quarterly, and The Journal of Florida Studies. He has presented papers at numerous regional, national, and international conferences, including one at Centre de Recherches sur l’Histoire des Etats-Unis (CRHEU) at the University of Paris.

In both 2006 and 2011 he was named Researcher of the Year at FAU, the top academic honor at the university. In 2006 he also participated in the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute, “African American Civil Rights Struggles in the Twentieth Century,” as a Visiting Fellow at the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He has been awarded several grants and fellowships from agencies such as the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the William R. Kenan Charitable Trust, the Florida Department of Education, and the Florida Humanities Council.  He serves on the editorial board of The Journal of Civil and Human Rights at the University of Illinois Press. He is also founding Co-Director of the Kenan Social Engagement Program.

Professor Strain has been interviewed about his scholarship for local (The Palm Beach Post, The Sun-Sentinel), regional (The Charlotte Observer, The Daily Advertiser), national (Time, The New RepublicThe Washington Post, NBC News, VICE News, Vox), and international (The Guardian, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) news outlets, radio shows (NPR’s BackStory, WNUR 89.3FM Chicago’s This is Hell!), and documentary films (Soul City).


He attended the University of Virginia (B.A., 1993), the University of Georgia (M.A., 1995), and the University of California at Berkeley (Ph.D., 2000).


He lives in Jupiter, Florida.

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