After completing the Ph.D. degree at the University of Minnesota, Batalden taught for one year at Grambling State University (Louisiana) before coming to Arizona State University where he is currently professor of history and director of the ASU Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies. His most recent volume, Russian Bible Wars: Modern Scriptural Translation and Cultural Authority (Cambridge U. Press, 2013), won the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies 2014 Reginald Zelnick Award for outstanding book in the field of history.
An historian of Russia and Eastern Europe, Batalden is a specialist on modern Russian religious and cultural history, with research interest in Russian ties with the Orthodox East. As director of the ASU Melikian Center, he directs international development projects in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. The Melikian Center is also home to the Critical Languages Institute, one of the nation's leading summer academies for study of less commonly taught East European and Eurasian languages.