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Lauren Turek is a doctoral candidate in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia. Her scholarly interests include the history of U.S. foreign relations, domestic politics, religion, and human rights.
Lauren's dissertation, entitled “To Bring the Good News to All Nations: Evangelicals, Human Rights, and U.S. Foreign Policy, 1969-1994,” illuminates the complex and deeply significant ways in which religion and religious groups interacted with foreign policy, political culture, and the international human rights regime to shape America’s role in the modern world. In her dissertation, she examines the growth and influence of Christian foreign policy lobbying groups in the United States beginning in the 1970s, assessing the effectiveness of Christian efforts to attain foreign aid for favored regimes and to impose economic and diplomatic sanctions on those nations that persecuted Christians and stifled evangelism.Through case studies that examine the effect that evangelical involvement and American policy had on society and politics in Guatemala, South Africa, and the Soviet Union, Lauren evaluates how evangelical beliefs shaped human rights discourse and practice, or the pursuit of “the good” in global society. She explores how these efforts, in tandem with the expansion of evangelical Christianity throughout the world, influenced global cultures, gauging the effect that evangelical involvement and American policy had on society and politics in Guatemala, South Africa, and the Soviet Union. Her case studies reveal the extent of Christian influence on American foreign policy, the outcome of these policies on the ground, and the seemingly paradoxical support that evangelicals lent to repressive authoritarian regimes in the name of human rights.
Lauren holds a BA in History from Vassar College, an MA in Museum Studies from New York University, and an MA in History from the University of Virginia.