Austin Clements

Stanford University
Candidate for Graduate Student Representative, 2022-24

Candidate statement

Austin Clements
Austin Clements

I am a doctoral candidate in United States History at Stanford University studying religion and rightwing politics in the twentieth century under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Burns. My dissertation will explore the religious origins of the far right and conservatism at the turn of the twentieth century through the interwar period, looking at the intersection of Catholic, Mormon, Protestant Fundamentalist, and Jewish faith traditions as they grappled with modernity, liberalism, and the rise of communism and fascism. My research combines cultural and intellectual history, using religion, gender, and race as categories of analysis to explore the making and proliferation of an ecumenical “Judeo-Christian” subculture and identity, and its role in the formation of the modern American right.

The January 2022 conference will mark my first engagement with the ACHA, where I will be presenting a paper on the Catholic faith of the notorious “radio priest” Father Charles E. Coughlin, his superiors, and his devoted listeners in a transnational context. I am thrilled to participate in the conference and to meet and engage with fellow scholars researching American Catholic History. I look forward to learning from and networking with new colleagues and building new relationships through the ACHA in this and upcoming years. 

I am honored to have been selected as a potential candidate for the ACHA’s Executive Council. If elected as a Graduate Student Representative, I will work toward building a more inclusive environment for first generation and nontraditional junior scholars. As a first generation academic with a family who spent the ten years before graduate school working in the trades by day and taking undergraduate courses at night, I understand the discomfort and disorientation in transitioning to academic spaces as well as the difficulty in finding resources and locating opportunities as someone from outside academic culture. Furthermore, as a historian studying American Catholicism in tandem with religious history more broadly, I intend to bridge existing gaps between disparate subfields to bring multiple faith traditions into a conversation with one another and the larger American historiography of politics and culture. I hope to make a more inclusive environment for graduate students and their research as both an advocate and a colleague.


Clements_CV 2021