Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute

Caricature art depicting Putin and Trump.



Slouching towards Moscow: Family Values and the Romance of Russia

Please join the Columbia Research Initiative on the Global History of Sexualities and the Harriman Institute for a discussion with Bethany Moreton.

As part of the current upsurge of authoritarian politics and blood-and-soil ethnonationalism, U.S. Christians have rediscovered in Holy Russia an unlikely polestar. But this surge in the international “family values” movement is only the most recent iteration of a century-long relationship. From the Bolshevik Revolution through the present bromance with Putin, U.S. theocrats have used Russia as a resource for promoting sexual conformity, racial purity, and gender rigidity. Far from serving as mere “culture wars” distractions from law and economics, these theocratic ambitions are meant to secure a free market under God. This history suggests that when Christian nationalists tell us what they want, we should take them at their word.

Bethany Moreton is Professor of History at Dartmouth College and a series editor for Columbia University Press’s Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism. Her first book, To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise (Harvard University Press, 2009), won the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for best first book in U.S. history and the John Hope Franklin Award for the best book in American Studies. Her most recent book is Enter Dies y el capital (Txalaparta, 2022)