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Historian selected as winner of Nevins dissertation award

Author: Arts and Letters


Darren Dochuk, who received his doctorate from the University of Notre Dame last year, has been awarded the annual Allan Nevins Prize for the best dissertation in the field of U.S. history.

Dochuk’s dissertation, titled “From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics and the Southernization of Southern California, 1939-1969” was directed by George Marsden, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at Notre Dame.

In his dissertation, Dochuk articulated the grassroots origins of the American religious right as that political movement developed in the decades after World War II in one of its most fertile settings: Orange County, Calif. It is considered an important interpretation of the origins of the religious right in California based on the demographic trends seen in patterns of migrations, especially from Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma.

During his graduate studies, Dochuk taught upper level history and freshman composition courses and served as a Lilly Postdoctoral Fellow at Valparaiso University. Currently an assistant professor of history at Purdue University, Dochuk specializes in 20th century U.S. politics.

Sponsored by the Society of American Historians, which is an affiliate of the American Historical Association, the Nevins Prize honors the best-written doctoral dissertation on a significant theme in American history.

Originally published by Shannon Chapla at on April 26, 2006.