Chris Babits
PhD Candidate, The University of Texas at Austin
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I am a Ph.D. Candidate in History and an Andrew W. Mellon Engaged Scholar Initiative Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. I have over twelve years of experience in the field of education, having been employed as a museum educator, high school teacher, undergraduate lecturer, and graduate-level instructor. My dedication to effective history pedagogy stems from a desire to make the study of the past more engaging, accessible, and lively. History is much more than memorizing important names, dates, and events. Rather, as an argumentative and interpretative discipline, history is the cornerstone to developing an active citizenry in the twenty-first century.

My dissertation, “To Cure a Sinful Nation: ‘Conversion Therapy’ and the Making of Modern America, 1920-Today,” documents the history of therapeutic and counseling practices aimed at “curing,” “changing,” “redeeming,” “restoring,” or “repairing” someone’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Drawing from material in over thirty archives, interviews, and ethnographic research, this dissertation underscores how proponents of conversion therapy have historically highlighted the importance of “traditional family values,” as evidenced by their passionate belief in, and powerful rhetoric about, the primacy of Judeo-Christian morality and the nuclear family.

You can learn more about my teaching and research on my website, www.chrisbabits.com. This includes my teaching statement and a detailed overview of my dissertation.

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in History and an Andrew W. Mellon Engaged Scholar Initiative Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. I have over twelve years of experience in the field of education, having been employed as a museum educator, high school teacher, undergraduate lecturer, and graduate-level instructor. My dedication to effective history pedagogy stems from a desire to make the study of the past more engaging, accessible, and lively. History is much more than memorizing important names, dates, and events. Rather, as an argumentative and interpretative discipline, history is the cornerstone to developing an active citizenry in the twenty-first century.

My dissertation, “To Cure a Sinful Nation: ‘Conversion Therapy’ and the Making of Modern America, 1920-Today,” documents the history of therapeutic and counseling practices aimed at “curing,” “changing,” “redeeming,” “restoring,” or “repairing” someone’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Drawing from material in over thirty archives, interviews, and ethnographic research, this dissertation underscores how proponents of conversion therapy have historically highlighted the importance of “traditional family values,” as evidenced by their passionate belief in, and powerful rhetoric about, the primacy of Judeo-Christian morality and the nuclear family.

You can learn more about my teaching and research on my website, www.chrisbabits.com. This includes my teaching statement and a detailed overview of my dissertation.