Lawrence Foster

Professor Emeritus

Member Of:
  • School of History and Sociology
Office Location: Old CE Building 121
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Lawrence Foster, a Professor of American History in the School of History and Sociology, received his PhD at the University of Chicago in 1976 under Martin Marty and has taught at Georgia Tech since 1977. Foster specializes in American social and religious history, and also has strong interests in modern European and comparative world history. His research focuses on changes in American family patterns and sex roles, the social impact of new and controversial religious movements (or "cults"), and the dynamics of mass movements and political revolutions. He has published more than forty articles and three books--Religion and Sexuality (1981), Women, Family, and Utopia (1991), and Free Love in Utopia (2001)--that deal primarily with changes in marriage and sex-role patterns in three controversial 19th-century religious groups, the celibate Shakers, "free love" Oneida Community, and polygamous Mormons. Foster has served as President of the Communal Studies Association and the 1,000-member Mormon History Association (although he is not a Mormon), and he has received an NEH Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship to Australia and New Zealand.  


Research Fields:
  • U.S. Society and Politics/Policy Perspectives


  • HIST-2111: United States to 1877
  • HTS-3009: The American Civil War
  • HTS-3016: Women & Gender in U.S.
  • HTS-3018: Religions & Cults in US
  • HTS-3019: Family&Sexuality in U.S.
  • HTS-3063: British Colonization
  • HTS-3067: Revolutionary Movement
  • HTS-4065: Seminar in Asian History