William Schultz is a historian of the modern United States, with a particular interest in the intersection of religion and politics. His book project, “Jesus Springs: How Colorado Springs Became the Capital of the Culture Wars,” examines how the confluence of Christianity, capitalism, and the military transformed Colorado Springs into “Jesus Springs,” a city that was home to dozens of evangelical Christian institutions and which became a key battleground in conflicts over gay rights and abortion at the end of the twentieth century.
“Jesus Springs” shows how the needs of evangelicals intersected with the political economy of war. Military spending during the Cold War transformed Colorado Springs from a resort town into a modern city, one which possessed cheap property, low taxes, and a large low-wage labor pool. Evangelical organizations moved to the city to take advantage of these factors. They were also courted by the city’s business elite, who saw evangelicalism as the right kind of industry: one that would diversify the local economy without bringing pollution. But evangelical Christianity was no ordinary industry, and the evangelical migration to Colorado Springs had far-reaching consequences. The city’s Christian organizations used their communication platforms to amplify what might otherwise have been local struggles into national conflicts. “Jesus Springs” thus offers a new perspective on religion and politics in the United States by illuminating how the American political economy has shaped the terrain of cultural conflict.
At Princeton, William has taught seminars on the Cold War and on America in the 1980s. He has also precepted for courses on United States History from 1920 to 1974; United States History since 1974; Gender and Sexuality in Modern America; Business Ethics and Modern Religious Thought; and Asian American History.
Before coming to Princeton, William was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy, where he was part of a multi-disciplinary program examining the history and theory of religious freedom. He earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in History from Princeton University and a B.A. in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.