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About William Vance Trollinger Jr.

William Trollinger earned a B.A. in English and History from Bethel College (MN) in 1977, and a M.A. (1980) and Ph.D. (1984) from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, where he wrote his dissertation on grass-roots fundamentalism. After stints at the College of the Ozarks and at Messiah College, in 1996 he came to the University of Dayton, where he teaches courses in the History and Religious Studies Departments. He was promoted to professor in 2011, and was awarded the University's Alumni Award in Teaching in 2017. At UD he also serves as director of the Core Integrated Studies Program.

He has written extensively on creationism, evangelicalism, fundamentalism, Protestant print culture, the death penalty, and the Ku Klux Klan. His books include God's Empire: William Bell Riley and Midwestern Fundamentalism (Wisconsin, 1990) and -- as co-editor (with Douglas Jacobsen) -- Re-Forming the Center: American Protestantism, 1900 to the Present (Eerdmans, 1998). His article in American Catholic Studies, "Hearing the Silence: The University of Dayton, the Ku Klux Klan, and Catholic Universities in the 1920s," won the 2014 Catholic Press Award for Best Scholarly Essay; his article in Church History, "Riley's Empire: Northwestern Bible School and Fundamentalism in the Upper Midwest," won the 1989 Christianity Today Best in Theology Award.

Most recently, he and Susan Trollinger are co-authors of Righting America at the Creation Museum (Johns Hopkins, 2016), which in July 2016 was selected as the Times Higher Education (UK) Book of the Week. In connection with the book they have been interviewed by the New York Times, Religion News Service (the interview appeared in the Washington Post), GQ, Religion and Politics, and "RadioWest" (KUER). Their current work includes ongoing research on creationism, the Creation Museum, Ark Encounter, and the Christian Right -- about which they blog at And they have started a new book project on the failure of 20th/21st century evangelicalism.


2013 - Present Director of Core Integrated Studies Program, University of Dayton College of Arts and Sciences
1996 - Present Professor, University of Dayton Department of History

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • 2014 Catholic Press Award: Best Essay in a Scholarly Magazine.
  • 2003 Taylor Distinguished Lecturer, Indiana Association of Historians.
  • 2000 Staley Distinguished Lecturer, Ohio Northern University.
  • 1994-1997 Lilly Endowment Project Grant (with Douglas Jacobsen).
  • 1991-1992 Louisville Institute Planning Grant (with Douglas Jacobsen).
  • 1989 Christianity Today Best in Theology Award.


  • ASI 110: Core Integrated Studies: Western Culture in a Global Context (through 1715 CE)
  • ASI 120: Core Integrated Studies: Western Culture in a Global Context (1715 CE - present)
  • REL 620: Protestant Fundamentalism, Biblical Inerrancy, and the U. S. Religious Experience


1984 PhD, University of Wisconsin
1980 MS, University of Wisconsin
1977 BS, Bethel College

Contact Information

William Vance Trollinger, Jr.
Professor of History
History and Religious Studies Departments
University of Dayton
Dayton OH 45469-1540


Book chapters (3)

Fundamentalism (14)

Evangelicalism (7)