Marshall University’s Department of History features a distinguished faculty with diverse backgrounds and interests. Our faculty are active members of the Marshall community and publish regularly with leading scholarly presses and journals.
They are also the proud recipients of multiple university-wide teaching awards. Specific teaching/scholarship areas include US History, European, Asian, British, African-American, Latin American, History of Technology, and Public History.
Chair: Dr. Greta Rensenbrink
Director of Graduate Studies: Dr. Robert Deal
Phi Alpha Theta & History Club Faculty Advisor: Dr. Laura Michele Diener
KAREN PARTRIDGE is the Administrative Secretary for the History department. With a lifelong career in customer service, she is excited to meet the students involved with the history department. From first semester freshmen to second year grads, Karen is always happy to help in any way possible. Her office is in Harris Hall 116, and everyone is invited to stop by for a chat, help, or directions. Her door is open!
KEVIN BARKSDALE (Ph.D. West Virginia), a professor of American history, is a specialist in Appalachian and West Virginia history. He has extensive teaching experience in Appalachian history and culture, Native American Studies, and Coalfield/Working Class history. His research interests include the 18th century Appalachian backcountry, southeastern Amerindian history, and the trans-Appalachian borderlands. He is the author of The Lost State of Franklin: America’s First Secession (Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 2008). He is the editor of the state’s history journal West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies and is currently working on a book (with Dr. Chris White) entitled Trans-Appalachian Epidemics: An Interdisciplinary History from Contact to COVID.
ROBERT DEAL (Ph.D. Temple University, J.D. Villanova University), is a professor of American history, specializing in legal and environmental history. His research, focused on the laws and customs of the American whaling industry in the 18th and 19th centuries, has resulted in published articles on the legal history of whaling in Ecology Law Quarterly and the University of Toronto Law Journal. His book, The Law of the Whale Hunt: Dispute Resolution, Property Law, and American Whalers, 1780-1880, is recently published by Cambridge University Press. Dr. Deal is also the Director of Graduate Studies for the History Department.
LAURA MICHELE DIENER (Ph.D., Ohio State), teaches medieval and ancient history. She received her PhD in history from The Ohio State University and has studied at Vassar College, Newnham College, Cambridge, and most recently, Vermont College of Fine Arts. She enjoys teaching classes on fascinating peoples of the past, including Vikings, Romans, Ancient Egyptians, and Celts. If you google her, you will find some of her creative essays online. She has written about medieval spirituality, medieval embroidery, and medieval hair. She is currently writing a biography of the Norwegian Nobel-prize-winning writer, Sigrid Undset titled A World Perilous and Beautiful. She is faculty advisor of the History Club and would love to get students involved.
MANAMEE GUHA (Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, 2019) is an assistant professor specializing in 19th-century Victorian British history, especially in the role of a colonizing force. She teaches courses on World History (18th century onwards), Histories of Colonized Nations, Cultures and Colonialism, Comparative Colonialism, Gunpowder Empires, Histories of Colonialism, and Decolonization. In her teaching, she encourages her students to think about the era of imperialism as a global historical moment where all parts of the world were inextricably linked to one another through exchanges of ideas, commodities, tastes, and interactions that impacted the lives of all, directly or indirectly. As a global historian, she is interested in exploring the various interconnected links, defying spatial frameworks, that connected the metropole to the colonies, especially South Asia. Currently, she is working on an article about the etiquette, rules, and elements of theatrical performance built around the activity of hunting by the colonized masters and what such a display stood for in terms of legitimizing their role as the superior colonial master. She is also working on a larger book monograph about British genteel clubbability as it crisscrossed around the world, from colony to the metropole, giving the colonial masters an exclusive identity for themselves, whether they resided in the colonies or returned home to England.
Office: Harris Hall 128
MOLLY C. MERSMANN (Ph.D. Purdue University) is an assistant professor of American history, specializing in the American Civil War and Reconstruction eras. Her manuscript, “Repair, Restore, Rebuild: Reconstructing the South in the Wake of the American Civil War,” investigates how southerners rebuilt their landscape, their societies, and their lives after the war and who they expected their allies to be in the process. Dr. Mersmann’s specific interests include women and gender, African American history, and Civil War memory. A past Postdoctoral Associate of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, she has spoken at numerous engagements, including Virginia Tech’s Civil War Weekend, Manassas National Battlefield Park’s Lecture Series, and the Organization of American Historians Conference.
Office: Harris Hall 110
MONTSERRAT MILLER (Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon) is a professor of history specializing in Modern European, Spanish, and food history. Her research has largely been focused on nineteenth and twentieth century Catalonia, on food markets, gender, and the history of consumerism. That work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Program for Cultural Cooperation between Spain’s Ministry of Culture and United States’ Universities, by the West Virginia Humanities Council, by a United States Fulbright Commission Fellowship, and by the American Association of University Women. Her book, Feeding Barcelona 1714-1975: Public Market Halls, Social Networks, and Consumer Culture, was published by Louisiana State University Press and won Phi Alpha Theta’s Best First Book Award. Her work has been published in English, Catalan, and Spanish. She is a Distinguished Drinko Fellow and the recipient of numerous teaching prizes, including the Hedrick Outstanding Faculty Award at Marshall and the West Virginia Professor of the Year Award. In 2020, she won the Distinguished Faculty Service Award at Marshall, and in 2021 she won the Carolyn B. Hunter Faculty Service Award from the Marshall University Alumni Association. Professor M Professor Miller’s most recent article, “Public Control over Private Trade: Barcelona’s Market-hall Based Food Retailing System,” will appear in Digestible Governance: Gastrocracy and Spanish Foodways (Vanderbilt University Press, Fall 2024). She also serves as the Executive Director of the John Deaver Drinko Academy for American Political Institutions and Civic Culture.
GRETA RENSENBRINK (Ph.D., Chicago), is a Professor of American History, specializing in late-20th century United States history and the history of sexuality. Along with methods classes, she teaches the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s, the history of sexuality, and LGBTQIA+ history. Her publications include “A Currency of Books: The Smith Sisters in East Tennessee,” in The Journal of East Tennessee History, 93 (2021), which won the McClung Award, and “Parthenogenesis: Regenerating Women’s Community through Virgin Birth,” which appeared in the Journal of the History of Sexuality. Dr. Rensenbrink is also Department Chair.
PHILLIP T. RUTHERFORD (Ph.D., Penn State) is a professor of history specializing in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Germany and Central Europe. He teaches courses in modern European history, intellectual history, propaganda and film, Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, and World War II. He is the author of Prelude to the Final Solution: The Nazi Program for Deporting Ethnic Poles, 1939-1941 (The University Press of Kansas, 2007). His ongoing research project explores food, foraging, and American Servicemen during the Second World War.
ANARA TABYSHALIEVA (Ph.D., Kyrgyz National University) is an associate professor of Asian history. She teaches courses in modern and pre-modern history of Asia, Eurasia, and Russia. The John D. and Catherine T. Mac Arthur Foundation, the UNESCO, the US Institute of Peace, the Woodrow Wilson Center, and the United Nation organizations supported her research projects. She was a scholar in residence at United Nations University in Tokyo (Japan) and at the Centre for the Study of Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations, University of Birmingham (UK). She authored several books and chapters, and reports on history, international relations, social development, and gender issues. Dr. Tabyshalieva served as co-editor of the UNESCO volume History of Civilizations of Central Asia: Towards the Contemporary Period: From the Mid-nineteenth to the End of the Twentieth Century (Paris, 2005) and participated in UNESCO Hirayama Silk Road Program (1994) and Silk Road expedition (the Steppe Route, 1991). She is the author of the UNESCO report on human security in Central Asia (Paris, 2007) and co-editor of Defying Victimhood: Women and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding (United Nations University Press, Tokyo, New-York, 2012) (also available as a PDF) and Escaping Victimhood Children, Youth and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding (United Nations University Press, Tokyo, New-York, 2014).
CHRISTOPHER M. WHITE (Ph.D., Kansas), is a professor of Latin American history. He teaches courses on Latin America, the developing world, and U.S. foreign relations and he is the author of Creating a Third World: Mexico, Cuba, and the United States during the Castro Era (New Mexico, 2007); The History of El Salvador (Greenwood, 2008); A Global History of the Developing World (Routledge, 2013) and The War on Drugs in the Americas (Routledge, 2019). He and Dr. Kevin Barksdale are currently in the final stages of editing an anthology on epidemics in Appalachian history for the University Press of Kentucky.
On leave 2023-2024
KAT WILLIAMS (Ph.D., Kentucky) is a professor of American history. Her areas of specialization include U.S. women’s history and the history of sport. She is the author of The All-American Girls After the AAGPBL: How Playing Pro Ball Shaped Their Lives, and Isabel “Lefty” Alvarez: The Improbable Life of a Cuban American Baseball Star. Dr. Williams is also the CEO of the International Women’s Baseball Center, dedicated to the preservation and future of women in baseball.
CICERO M. FAIN, III (Ph.D., Ohio State) is the Assistant Provost for Inclusive Excellence and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellow. His teaching career includes positions at Marshall, Ohio University-Southern, Niagara University, and the College of Southern Maryland. He has authored several articles on the African American experience in Central Appalachia and is the author of Black Huntington: An Appalachian Story (University of Illinois Press, 2019), a finalist for the 2019 Appalachian Studies Association’s Weatherford Award and winner of the 2021 West Virginia Literary Merit Award. He is the Marshall Liaison/Steering Committee Member to the ASA and member of the West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies Editorial Board. His current book project is entitled, “Buffalo Soldier, Deserter, Criminal: The Remarkably Complicated Life of Charles Ringo.” Dr. Fain is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Appalachian Studies and on the West Virginia Humanities Council Board of Directors.
Office: Harris Hall 113
BLAIR BOCOOK (MA, Marshall University) is an adjunct professor teaching twentieth-century U.S. history. During her undergraduate and graduate studies, she focused on Women’s history and Latin American history. After completing her master’s degree, she taught twentieth-century World history in Shanghai, China. Since returning to the states, her work has primarily focused on advising international students and scholars on U.S. immigration regulations. She’s held positions at Marshall University, UNC Charlotte, and Wake Forest University, and recently served as the Coordinator for the Women’s and Gender Center on campus.
AMANDA SHAVER (MA, Marshall) is an adjunct faculty member specializing in nineteenth century U.S., Appalachian, and Civil War women’s history. She currently teaches nineteenth and twentieth century U.S. history and is the author of “Discreetly Cunning: The Wartime Experiences of Victoria Hansford, a West Virginia Confederate” which appeared in West Virginia History 13, 2(2019): 27-45. She is also an academic advisor for the Regents Bachelor of Arts program at Marshall.
DANIEL HOLBROOK (Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon) His publications are available at: Academia|Dan Holbrook. His current research focuses on contamination control technologies in laboratories and industry, purity and cleanliness in historical perspectives, and piles as technologies.
WILLIAM G. PALMER (Ph.D., University of Maine) specializes in early modern (1400-1800) British, Irish, Atlantic, and European history, as well as historiography. He is the author of The Political Career of Oliver St. John; The Problem of Ireland in Tudor Foreign Policy; Engagement with the Past: The Lives and Works of the World War II Generation of Historians; From Gentleman’s Club to Professional Body: The Evolution of the History Department in the United States, 1940-1980, and over thirty articles in such journals as the Journal of British Studies; Albion; The Historian; The Renaissance Quarterly; Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques, and the Journal of the Historical Society. He is currently at work on a study of historical constructions of morality and virtue, for which a preliminary sketches have appeared in Historical Journal 52, 4(December, 2009): 1039-52; the Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies, 19, 3(Summer, 2019): 163-91; Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques, 2(Summer, 2019): 1-21.
FRANK S. RIDDEL (Ph.D., Ohio State) is the author of several articles on the history of Spain during the dictatorship of Franco, the editor of an anthology entitled Appalachia: Its People, Heritage and Problems and coauthor of West Virginia Government and American Government: The USA and West Virginia. His most recent publication is The Historical Atlas of West Virginia (West Virginia University Press, 2008).
ROBERT SAWREY (Ph.D., Cincinnati) is the author of Dubious Victory (University Press of Kentucky, 1992) and an essay on George Hunt Pendleton in Warren Van Tine, ed., Builders of Ohio (Ohio State University Press, 2004). His most recent book, The Coach and the College (published by the Institute for Regional Studies at North Dakota State University) deals with the connection between a coach, his successful athletic programs and the financial survival of a small liberal arts college in North Dakota.
DR. DAVID R. WOODWARD (Ph.D., Georgia) a member of the history department for thirty-six years, taught military history, Russian history and Modern European history. He is the author of eight books and numerous articles in journals such as the Journal of Modern History and the Historical Journal. His book Hell in the Holy Land (published in the United Kingdom by Tempus as Forgotten Soldiers of the First World War) was adopted by both the History Book Club and the Military History Book Club. Woodward, who was a consultant for a BBC program on David Lloyd George, contributed an article on the Middle East during World War I to the BBC history web site. Since his retirement in 2006, Woodward has written two books: America and World War I: A Selected Annotated Bibliography of English-Language Sources (Routledge, 2007) and World War I Almanac (FactsOnFile, 2009).