Faculty & Staff

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 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 anyone is invited to stop by for a chat, help or directions. Her door is open!

Office: Harris Hall 116

Email: partridgek@marshall.edu

Telephone: 304-696-6780


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.

On Sabbatical spring 2022.

Office: Harris Hall 127

Email: barksdale@marshall.edu

Telephone: 304-696-2956

ROBERT DEAL (Ph.D. Temple University), is an associate 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.

Office: Harris Hall 109

Email: dealr@marshall.edu

Telephone: 304-696-2721

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 medieval people of all types. 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 working on a biography of the Norwegian Nobel-prize-winning writer, Sigrid Undset. She is faculty advisor of the History Club and would love to get students involved.

Office: Harris Hall 107

Email: diener@marshall.edu

Telephone: 304-696-2954


MONTSERRAT MILLER (Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon) is a professor of history specializing in Modern European, Spanish, and food history. Her research has been focused on nineteenth and twentieth century Catalonia, on food markets, gender, and the history of consumerism. Her book, Feeding Barcelona 1714-1975: Public Market Halls, Social Networks, and Consumer Culture, was published by Louisiana State University Press and won the Phi Alpha Theta Best First Book Award. She has published articles and chapters on the symbolic iconography of market women, on public rituals associated with market modernization initiatives, and on retail associationalism and civic life under dictatorial rule. Her work has appeared in English, Catalan, and Spanish and she has won numerous teaching and research prizes, including the 2008 West Virginia Professor of the Year Award. Professor Miller is currently working on the intersection between gastronomy and governance in modern Spain.

Office: Harris Hall 108

Email: millerm@marshall.edu

Telephone: 304-696-2723

Website: Montserrat Miller

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.

Office: Harris Hall 114

Email: palmer@marshall.edu

Telephone: 304-696-2720

GRETA RENSENBRINK (Ph.D., Chicago), an associate 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 “Parthenogenesis: Regenerating Women’s Community through Virgin Birth,” which appears in the Journal of the History of Sexuality. Dr. Rensenbrink is also Department Chair.

Office: Harris Hall 105

Email: rensenbrink@marshall.edu

Telephone: 304-696-2955

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, 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 current research project explores food, foraging, and American Servicemen during the Second World War.

Office: Harris Hall 129

Email: rutherfordp@marshall.edu

Telephone: 304-696-2719

Anara Tabyshalieva

ANARA TABYSHALIEVA (Ph.D., Kyrgyz National University) is an associate professor of Asian history. She teaches courses in modern and pre-modern Asian history, South and Central Asia, East Asia, Modern China, Modern Japan, and Eurasia. Her research projects have been supported by the John D. and Catherine T. Mac Arthur Foundation, the UNESCO Hirayama Silk Road Program (France), the US Institute of Peace, the Woodrow Wilson Center, and the United Nation Development Program (UNDP). She has been a scholar in residence at United Nations University in Japan and at the Centre for the Study of Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations, University of Birmingham (UK). She has authored several books and numerous chapters, articles, and reports on history, international relations, 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). She is also the author of the UNESCO report on human security in Central/South Asia (Paris, 2007), and co-editor, with Albrecht Schnabel, of Defying Victimhood: Women and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding (UNU Press, 2012).

Office: Harris Hall 111

Email: tabyshalieva@marshall.edu

Telephone: 304-696-2724

David Trowbridge

DAVID TROWBRIDGE (Ph.D., Kansas) is an Associate Professor of History and the Director of African and African American Studies at Marshall University. Dr. Trowbridge is the author of A History of the United States and the creator of Clio, a website and mobile application that connects users with the history and culture that surrounds them. Clio has grown to over 5000 entries across the United States and is available for free at www.theclio.com. Dr. Trowbridge has also authored several articles in leading academic publications such as the Journal of American History and Journal of African American History. Among his current projects are the publication of a book on African American pioneers in the American West following Reconstruction, and a second book entitled Jim Crow in the Land of John Brown which details the origins of segregation and the Black Freedom Struggle in America’s Heartland.

On leave.

Office: Harris Hall 110

Email: david.trowbridge@marshall.edu

Telephone: 304-696-2717

Website: David Trowbridge

Chris White

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).

Office: Harris Hall 112

Email: whitec@marshall.edu

Telephone: 304-696-2722

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 the forthcoming Isabel “Lefty” Alvarez: The Improbable Life of a Cuban American Baseball Star. Dr. Williams is also the president of the International Women’s Baseball Center, dedicated to the preservation and future of women in baseball.

Office: Harris Hall 124

Email: williamskath@marshall.edu

Telephone: 304-696-2959

Adjunct Faculty

LAUREN ANGEL (PhD Candidate, George Washington) is an adjunct faculty member specializing in U.S. and world history. Her research explores the uses of race and gender in shaping U.S. interactions with the world, and her dissertation, “Hot Bodies, Cold War: Dancing America in Person and Performance” analyzes Cold War dance diplomacy tours. Her current research has been supported by the American Association of University Women, the New York City Public Library, Cosmos Club, and the Shirley H. and Robert L. Richards Endowment. Lauren’s writing has appeared with the online publications History News Network and The Activist History Review, where she also served as associate editor.

Office: Harris Hall 140

Email: langel@marshall.edu

Emeritus Faculty

Daniel Holbrook

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.

Email: holbrook@marshall.edu

Website: Daniel Holbrook

Steve Riddel

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

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.

David Woodward

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).

Email: woodwadr@marshall.edu

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Marshall University
Department of History
Harris Hall 116
Huntington, WV 25755

In the Community

On May 17, Dr. Chris White of Marshall's History Department spoke to two assemblies and three individual classes of 8th grade students at Independence Middle School outside of Beckley, WV, about study abroad opportunities and ancient Latin American civilizations. Dr. White was invited by his former student and current 8th grade teacher, who graduated Marshall with her BA in Social Studies Education in Spring 2020.