Biography

Lincoln Mullen is a historian of American religion and the nineteenth-century United States, often using computational methods for texts and maps. He is the executive director of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, a research center which creates websites, podcasts, educational resources, data-driven histories, and other open-access digital work to democratize history. At George Mason University, he is a professor in the Department of History and Art History, where he teaches American religious history, the history of Christianity, the history of the nineteenth-century United States, and digital history.

Photograph of Lincoln Mullen

Mullen is the author of America’s Public Bible: A Commentary (Stanford University Press, 2023), an interactive scholarly work that uncovers the history of the Bible in the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century United States using computational methods. In 2016, a prototype of that project won the Chronicling America Data Challenge from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He also wrote The Chance of Salvation: A History of Conversion in America (Harvard University Press, 2017), which traces the history of the distinctively American idea that religion is a matter of individual choice. That book won the 2018 Best First Book in the History of Religions prize from the American Academy of Religion.

At RRCHNM, he has collaborated with scores of historians, technologists, and students on a range of projects: each of the projects mentioned are the work of many hands. Much of his work has focused on the history of American religion, especially in collaboration with John Turner. Together they lead the American Religious Ecologies project, which is creating new datasets and visualizations for the history of American religion, including digitizing the 1926 Census of Religious Bodies. They are also the writers of the forthcoming podcast, Antisemitism, U.S.A. He is working with Kellen Funk on the Legal Modernism project, which studies and visualizes the history of the modernization of American law using computational methods. They published an article in the American Historical Review on the diffusion of New York procedure codes across the United States during Reconstruction. With Rosemarie Zagarri, he created Mapping Early American Elections, which uncovers the history of Congressional and state legislative election results during the formative era of the first party system. With Stephen Robertson, he has authored or edited a series of publications encouraging argument-driven digital history, and the edit the journal Current Research in Digital History. He has created a number of open-source software packages and frequently writes software in R, Go, and JavaScript.

As a PI or co-PI at RRCHNM, he has received over $2.8 million in external grants from funders such as the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Library of Congress, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah. His work has been discussed in venues such as The Atlantic, Slate, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Vox, and public radio. His service to the profession has included participating in the American History Task Force of Educating for American Democracy, a re-thinking of the historical curriculum for K-12 education, and service to the American Society of Church History and rOpenSci. His first forays into digital history included organizing four THATCamps in New England and with the American Historical Association.

He received his PhD in American history from Brandeis University in 2014, and joined George Mason University that same year. From 2019 to 2022 he was a fellow in the Young Scholars in American Religion program at the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture.

He lives with his two children in Annandale, Virginia.