MA in History, Southern Methodist University
BA in Theology and Philosophy, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
Ashton is a PhD Candidate studying American Religious History in the early nineteenth century working under Kate Carte, PhD. He is particularly interested in how grief, trauma, and family dynamics influence religious conversion and life. Additionally, he is interested in when and why outside majority groups chose to weaponize minority religious group’s beliefs (or at times rumors or belief) against them. Ashton explores is exploring these question as he researches and writes his dissertation centering on the Strangite branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and their founder James Jesse Strang who operated in Michigan, Wisconsin, and the east coast from 1845 to 1855. He received the William R. Coe Fellowship from The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University for 2022-2023 to research the James Jesse Strang collection and other materials in their Western Americana collection relating to Mormonism and American Religion in the U.S. west.
Outside of school Ashton enjoys spending time with his family, walking his dog, and pursuing an inexplicable passion for composting. He enjoys volunteering time to help coach his daughter’s UIL Social Studies team. Ashton’s favorite novelist is Cormac McCarthy because he likes his fiction historically informed, dark, and heart-breaking.