Chrissy Stroop Profile picture
Jun 29, 2018 35 tweets 10 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1. I've been meaning to do a little thread to update you all on what's happening in my life (and as an intro for new followers). I just sent off my monthly newsletter for Patreon patrons; with that fresh in my mind, this is probably a good time. Except it's a also a terrible time
2. You see, I've been wanting to do this on a day when we're not all reeling from yet more horrific news, but at this point I have no idea when we might see another day like that, so I guess now will have to do. The biggest news, which some of you know, is that I'm leaving Tampa.
3. Not only am I leaving Tampa, but I am leaving Tampa without full-time employment either here, or where I'm going, a north suburb of Indianapolis. Where I'll live with my parents for a while. How and why that's happening is sort of a #RealAcademicBios story.
4. I graduated from Stanford University with a Ph.D. in Russian history in 2012. Not having immediate prospects for tenure-track work in the U.S., I took what was then a normal enough area studies route. I took a job at a university in Moscow, where I spent three academic years.
5. While at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration in Moscow, I taught introductory humanities and social sciences theme courses. I did more archival research. I became an editor of a religious studies journal.…
6. I published. I lectured in Vienna and was part of a roundtable in Oxford. I learned more about myself in my personal life, and I beefed up my CV. I also had a front row seat to major geopolitical shifts, the lurch toward right-wing populism, decline in US-Russian relations.
7. My Russian university sent me to major academic conferences in the US. But things got somewhat awkward in some ways after the annexation of Crimea and the sanctions, and the value of my ruble-denominated salary plummeted as I continued to struggle to pay down debt in dollars.
8. My publications, editorial work, and employment in a major Russian university caught the eye of certain parties at the University of South Florida when I applied for a Provost's Postdoctroal Scholarship in the Social Sciences and Humanities. The History Department requested me
9. The search committee granted the History Department's request. And so I came to USF for a relatively prestigious postdoc that started in the academic year of 2015-2016 but was renewable for only one subsequent year. In those two years, I had no luck in the search for a TT job.
10. Already in Moscow I started writing commentary for @RDispatches, which gave me a taste for engaging non-academic audiences. At USF, I began to do more and more policy research and popular work. Stuff like this:…

And this:…
11. While in Moscow, by the way, I made the discovery that I am queer. How did I not figure that out into my mid-thirties, you ask? In a word, evangelical indoctrination. Okay, that was two words:…

#Exvangelical #EmptyThePews
12. It was kind of ironic (at least in the Alanis Morissette sense of the word) to figure this out in Russia at a time when Putin was ramping up his "traditional values" politics and the scapegoating of the LGBTQ community. Thought I'd be safer exploring this side of me back home
13. Sadly, back home my expertise on Russia and my wide knowledge and lived experience of the Christian Right started to become increasingly relevant. Add my very weird combination of life experience and academic expertise to November 8, 2016, and you get how I blew up on Twitter
13-a. Here's something else ironic. Guess what my lecture topic was for November 9, 2016, in my upper-level survey on 19th-century European history? Why none other than the women's suffrage movement. Thought I'd lecture on that the day after we elected our first woman president.
13-b. That was a hard day. I made an impromptu anti-bullying speech, held extra office hours, and gave the shaken students who came to them granola bars. And I started doing lots of Twitter threads about authoritarianism, thinking that knowledge needed to be disseminated.
14. All this time I did not exactly give up looking for a tenure-track job or permanent (or at least indefinitely renewable) academic instructor position with decent pay and benefits, but I also began to hedge my bets, doing more and more for wider, non-academic audiences.
15. That seemed like a worthwhile thing to do, it felt meaningful, I began to be able to make a little extra money freelancing, which was a big help, and I felt more and more certain I would never get a traditional academic job anyway. My field is basically dead in the water.
15-a. Some 70%-80% of American university teaching these days is done by poorly paid adjunct instructors who generally do not get benefits. I love teaching, but I was not going to be exploited like that. Fun fact: America is full of Ph.D.s on food stamps.
16. Ever since I was a kid, a kid whose mother had not infrequent occasion to admonish, "Take your nose out of your book and be sociable," the idea of being a writer appealed to me. I went into academia as a "safe" route. I could be creative with job security. Good joke, huh?
17. But I was also naive, as writers need to have substantial life experience to write about, and now I sure do have that! Nevertheless, over the last three years that I've lived in Tampa, I've never fully given up on academia. Maybe I haven't even now.
18. In most Ph.D. programs in the humanities, while a little lip service may be paid to "alt-ac" routes, everyone is socialized into understanding that the gold standard is a tenure-track job, and that to fall short is shameful. It's kind of like Calvinism.
19. You are not trained to do anything but be a prof. Somehow, in the last few years I found my voice, a voice that can speak to people about things outside the narrow scope of my academic research. My academic work shapes that voice. But grad school mitigated against this result
20. After my postdoc at the University of South Florida, here in Tampa, I had no tenure-track job. At the last minute, I was offered a visiting instructor position in the Honors College, so I stayed for a third year. I never knew how long I'd stay. Didn't even buy much furniture.
21. Although I have some friends in Florida, my time here has been one of making a precarious and often lonely existence. It has been rewarding to shape bright young minds at USF, and to design creative courses like my arts and humanities course on apocalypse and dystopia.
22. But this year was also hard, because I went to faculty meetings where we did things like discuss the search for a new Honors College core faculty member, one in a completely different field, one that was definitely not going to be me. I liked my colleagues but was an outsider
23. I applied for honors college teaching jobs elsewhere this year--there were essentially no TT jobs in modern Russian history I fit the job description for--but no dice. That was a blow, as I should have a very competitive CV at this point but didn't even get interviews.
24. One scholar here who is in my corner shook the bushes to see if any kind of position could be created to keep me around, part research, part teaching, but again no dice. So what to do? I toyed with staying here to adjunct for at least one year but decided against it.
25. My writing has begun to reach a wider and wider audience, and it's meaningful to me. Through it, I take my experience and hopefully make it into something useful for the fight against fascism. It's helped to build #Exvangelical community, which has been healing for many of us
26. So I'm going to move back to Indiana when my lease is up at the end of next month, live with my parents for the next six months or so, and focus on my writing as much as possible. I am scared of living in deep Trump country again. I am scared of not having health insurance.
27. But I'm going. I'm working toward publishing a co-edited anthology of personal essays by former conservative Christians with @laureneoneal, and I'm working toward a proposal for a book project on the last few decades of culture wars and the rise of the #Exvangelical community
28. My blog, #NotYourMissionField, has been getting more attention of late, and I'll continue to create new content there. I intend to revive the Ex-Evangelical Conversations series soon. I've also been getting more freelance opportunities.
29. I am also currently affiliated, as a senior research associate, with the Postsecular Conflicts research project based at the University of Innsbruck. Next February or so I'll likely head to Austria for ca. 4 months in residence there. After that, I have no idea what I'll do.
30. The more I can depend on Patreon support over this next period, the more I will be able to engage in research, writing, and activism. If you are able to pledge even a small amount, that helps me immensely. Sharing the link with others helps too:
31. So, that's pretty much where I am in life right now. I tried to take a "safe" career path in a time when there are no safe career paths. But fate, or something, has made my weirdness weirdness that has unfortunate relevance. So I will write that weirdness, as much as I can.
32. My thanks to all of you that I've connected with on Twitter over the last two years or so. The communities I'm a part of here help me immensely. Re: Patreon, don't give if you can't afford to.

I'll sign off for now. #Resist #Exvangelical ❤️✊🏼

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More from @C_Stroop

Oct 1, 2018
1. I just sent out this month's newsletter for all @Patreon patrons who support me with a $5 or higher monthly pledge. If you find my work valuable and would like the inside Stroop scoop, please consider joining them!

#Exvangelical #SundayThoughts
2. At the end of the last academic year, I faced a choice--move back in with my parents in Indiana to pursue the freelance writing and speaking opportunities I was getting more of, or adjunct at the University of South Florida for low pay and no benefits. Or find something new.
3. Here's a thread with some of my life story up to the present. The travel to Austria next spring to do a semester of research mentioned in it fell through despite me having been promised it for years.

Read 15 tweets
Sep 29, 2018
Another reversal of an improvement for LGBTQ acceptance in an evangelical institution (World Vision is the other one I have in mind). Evangelicalism doesn’t change its patriarchal ways. It just casts out the people who would make it better.

#Exvangelical #EmptyThePews #Resist
Of course Wheaton might be the more direct parallel.…

#Exvangelical #EmptyThePews
For more on the authoritarian enforcement of hardline conservative orthodoxy at evangelical colleges, see my latest for @Playboy:…

#Exvangelical #EmptyThePews #SaturdayThoughts
Read 4 tweets
Sep 19, 2018
I also RT requests for financial help fairly often. Unfortunately, many in the #Exvangelical community have needs and are hampered by lack of education, meaningless degrees, or lack of professional experience outside evangelical institutions. The social costs of leaving are high.
I don’t want or expect anyone who can’t afford it to give, and I don’t want anyone to feel obligated; even just RTing those requests is immensely helpful. It is my hope that someday we’ll have some kind of foundation to fund #Exvangelical projects and meet needs. #EmptyThePews
Sometimes crowdfunding is all that stands between an #Exvangelical and homelessness, or being forced to return to a toxic, abusive living situation. That’s the uncomfortable reality. I do make small donations myself to almost every fundraising request I amplify.
Read 4 tweets
Sep 13, 2018
“We have to put citizens at the heart of our response to disinformation.” - Nina Jankowicz (@wiczipedia) at the Indiana Council on World Affairs.
One thing social media sites should be doing is providing a simplified approach to their terms of service so that users can provide informed consent.

Enforcement of terms of service also needs to be consistent, and cannot he left to algorithms alone.
Social media platforms should step up to pay for human processes re: terms of service violations and appeals. Democracy is at stake.

They can also embrace more of an educational role with respect to information literacy.
Read 6 tweets
Sep 7, 2018
September is a big month! I’m at the airport on my way Florida for The #Exvangelical Community: Paths, Projects, Prospects. In the last two days I’ve filed two pieces with editors, and this week I did podcasts w/ @NiceMangos and @kitchencultpod (@haettinger and @mxdarkwater). #FF
Next weekend I’ll be in Charleston, South Carolina to give a talk for @CHShumanists, and am very much looking forward to that! October is also pretty full!

#Exvangelical #EmptyThePews #FridayFeeIing #FF
And next week I’ll also be doing a second podcast episode with @TwistedSisterds! It’ll be my second time on, and I sure had fun last time!

#Exvangelical #FF
Read 4 tweets
Aug 28, 2018
1. A few thoughts on Trump's dinner in honor of evangelicals, which I'll be discussing with @RickSmithShow later. Key context to consider is that fascism is concerned with defining who belongs to "the nation" or "the people," and who doesn't. Internal enemies (Others) are needed.
2. This dovetails neatly with the way in which fundamentalist believers police who does and does not count as a member of their religious confession. This is critical to understanding the Christian Right's politics of "religious freedom":

3. Indeed, as I have written elsewhere, "Fundamentalism is authoritarianism in microcosm, or on the margins. Fascism is essentially fundamentalism in power." The vast majority of white evangelicals are authoritarian and fundamentalist.…

Read 25 tweets

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