Alison Collis Greene

Alison Collis Greene

Alison Collis Greene

Associate Professor and Off Campus Recruiting Coordinator

American Religious History, 20th Century United States



  • Ph.D., History, Yale University, 2010
  • B.A., University of North Carolina, Religious Studies and Anthropology, 2001

Research Interests

I am a historian of American religions and the twentieth century United States. My first book, No Depression in Heaven: The Great, Depression, the New Deal, and the Transformation of Religion in the Delta (Oxford University Press, 2016), argues that the Great Depression and New Deal remade American religion just as it remade the nation’s politics and social order. Set in Memphis and the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta, No Depression in Heaven weaves together the stories of ordinary believers, religious leaders, and grassroots activists to describe the collapse in voluntary and religious aid, the widespread demand for federal intervention, and a gradual disenchantment with the state among conservative Protestants in the 1930s.

My current research, for a manuscript tentatively entitled God’s Green Earth: Religion, Race, and the Land Since the Gilded Age, focuses on the racial and religious underpinnings of debates about the relationship between people and the land in the modern United States. Its characters are the farmers, rural reformers, civil rights activists, grassroots theologians, and civic leaders who fought to shape the nation’s approaches to agriculture, conservation, and the environment.



No Depression in Heaven: The Great Depression, the New Deal, and the Transformation of Religion in the Delta. Oxford University Press, 2016.


Winner, Charles S. Sydnor Award, Southern Historical Association, 2016

CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, 2016

Honorable Mention, Deep South Book Prize, Francis Somersell Center for the Study of the South, 2016

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

“Radical Christianity and Cooperative Economics in the Post World War II South.” In Between the Pew and the Picket Line: Christianity and the American Working Class, edited by Christopher Cantwell, Heath Carter and Janine Giordano Drake. University of Illinois Press, 2016.

“The Welfare of Faith.” In Faith in the New Millennium: The Future of Religion and American Politics, edited by Darren Dochuk and Matthew Avery Sutton. Oxford University Press, 2016.

“‘A Divine Revelation?’: Southern Churches Respond to the New Deal.” In Faithful Republic: Religion and American Politics, edited by Andrew Preston, Bruce Schulman, and Julian Zelizer. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.

“The Redemption of Souls and Soils: Religion and the Rural Crisis in the Mississippi Delta.” In Gods of the Mississippi, edited by Michael Pasquier. Indiana University Press, 2013.

“The End of ‘The Protestant Era’?” Church History 80:3 (September 2011).

“The Faith of the ‘Flotsam and Jetsam’,” The Journal of Southern Religion 13 (Fall 2011).

Other Publications

“The Great Depression and Religion in Mississippi,” Mississippi History Now, April, 2017.

“The Real Depression: The Greatest Generation Needed Welfare,” Christian Century 133:5 (March 2, 2016): 26-31. (also a featured article, online edition: February 26, 2016).

“Mississippi: A Historian Challenges H.L. Mencken,” part of The States Project, Religion and Politics, October 19, 2012.

“Let’s Remember History, When Religious Institutions Welcomed Government Support,” The Table, Religion and Politics, June 4, 2012.

Presentations and Invited Talks

“Nelle Morton, Southern Christian Activism, and Making the Best of Bad Government,” American Society
of Church History. Washington, D.C. January 4-7, 2018.

“‘Where to Send People for Help?’: The Church, the State, and the Great Depression.” Conference on Bridging the Urban-Rural Divide, New York Council of Churches. Johnstown, NY, July 18, 2017.

“‘Not One Cent for Religion’: The Great Depression and the New Deal in the Deep South.” Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana, March 30, 2017.

“Interracial Cowboys, Interfaith Reformers, and the Post-World War II Rehabilitation of Europe.” American Society of Church History. Denver, Colorado, January 6, 2017.

Roundtable organizer and participant. “Southern Religious History in the Twenty-First Century.” St. Pete’s Beach, Florida. November 4, 2016.

“‘Memphis Cares for Her Own’: Southern Religion, the Great Depression, and the New Deal.” The Memphis Center, Rhodes College, Thursday, October 14, 2016.

“Southern Religion During the Great Depression.” Millsaps Friday Forum, September 30, 2016.

“Agricultural Crises, Rural Church Leadership, and the Public Good in the Early Twentieth Century United States.” Organization of American Historians. Providence, Rhode Island, April 7, 2016.

‘To Build a New Economic Life’: Cooperative Economics and Radical Christianity in the Rural South after World War II.” American Society of Church History. New York, New York, January 3, 2015.

“‘Keepers of the Holy Earth’: Southern Radical Christianity and the Farmer after the New Deal.”  American Academy of Religion. San Diego, California, November 24, 2014.

“The Friends of the Soil and the Rural Church’s Role in Agriculture.” Agricultural History Society. Banff, Alberta, Canada, June 13, 2013.

Honors & Awards

  • Humanities Researcher of the Year, College of Arts & Sciences, Mississippi State University, 2017.
  • Fellow, Young Scholars in American Religion, Center for Religion and American Culture, 2013-2015.
  • Arts and Sciences HARP Research Fellow, Mississippi State University, 2011-2012.
  • Carolyn S. Cobb Faculty Award, Mississippi State University, 2011.
  • Edwin W. Small Prize for outstanding dissertation in United States history, Yale University, 2011.
  • Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship, 2009-2010.
  • Louisville Institute Honorary Dissertation Fellowship, 2009-2010.
  • Lubin-Winant Research Fellowship, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, 2009.
  • Richard J. Franke Fellowship in Humanistic Studies, Yale University, 2005-2007.
  • Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies, 2004-2005.
  • Phi Beta Kappa Society, 2001.
  • Morehead Scholar, University of North Carolina, 1997-2001. 

Courses Taught

  • HI 1073: The United States Since 1877
  • HI 3903: Historiography and Historical Methods
  • HI 4253: American Religious HistoryHI 4990: African American Religious History
  • HI 4990: African American Religious History
  • HI 8803: Colloquium in American Religious History
  • HI 8953: Colloquium in United States History, 1877-1945

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