B.A., M.A., Emory University
Ph.D., Syracuse University
Dr. Willis is particularly interested in exploring the history of ideas about race and ethnicity. He focuses mainly on how these ideas are shaped by religious belief. Dr. Willis teaches race in American history, African American history, modern American history, and modern African history.
All According to God's Plan: Southern Baptist Missions and Race, 1945-1970. The University of Kentucky Press, 2005.
with Sandra Burr, "Policing Parents: Children's Moral Vigilance in Southern Baptist Instructional Literature, 1945-1663" Interjuli Internationale: Kinder-und-Jugend literaturforshung no. 2/2012.
"Symbolic History in the Cold War Era" in Through A Glass Darkly edited by Keith Harper, University of Alabama Press, 2012.
“’Our Preaching Has Caught Up With Us’: Exploring the Impact of Southern Baptist Missions in Africa on the Southern Baptist Heartland” World History Bulletin, Spring 2007.
“Putting Religion in the Cold War: American and African Christians and the Moral Cold War” presented to the Transatlantic Studies Conference at University College Cork, Cork, Ireland, June 2007.
"Sekou Toure," "South Africa," and "Joe Lewis," in Robert L. Jenkins and Mfanya D. Tryman eds., The Malcom X Encyclopedia. Greenwood Press, 2002.
"A White Man's Religion?: Missions, Africa, and the Race Question." Proteus: A Journal of Ideas, March 1998.
"A Baptist Dilemma: Christianity, Discrimination, and the Desegregation of Mercer University." The Georgia Historical Quarterly. Fall, 1996.
"Race, Peace, and Mission: Southern Baptist Foreign Missions after World War II," presented to the World History Conference, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea, August, 2002.
"Acts of the Apostles and Southern Race Relations," presented at the Michigan Academy, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, March, 2002.
"Am I My Brother's Keeper?: Christian Brotherhood and the Problem of Racism among Southern Evangelicals" presented at The Missouri Valley History Conference, March, 2000.
"A White Man's Religion?: Missions, Africa, and the American Race Questions" presented at New Frontiers in History, York University, March, 1998.