The History Department’s faculty members are characterized by excellence in their scholarship and teaching, their love for the liberal arts, and their warm regard for students.

Well-qualified and award-winning teachers, these scholars are able to lead students into an exciting and rewarding educational experience.

Below is the list of current faculty with some basic information about each one.  To be introduced to them more fully, follow the links provided. As you read through each one’s brief biography, look for their areas of interest and research, the courses that they have taught, universities from which they have graduated, and much more. Each of them will also indicate their contact information which should be a sign to you that they welcome any questions that you might have.

Dr. Richard R. Heiser

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Professor of History
Office location: Neville Hall 109
Office phone: 864-833-8360
Office email: rrheiser@presby.edu
B.A., Nyack College
M.A., Ph.D., Florida State Univ.

Research field:

12th-century England

Teaching fields:

Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern Europe

While I have been teaching college students since 1988, my history with Presbyterian College began in 1999.

My academic career started when I completed a B.A. at Nyack College, a private Christian liberal arts college. During the four years of my undergraduate study, I had been inspired by faculty who modeled excellent instruction in history and genuine interest in their students. It became a career goal to follow in their footsteps. So, from Nyack College, I attended Florida State University where I took both graduate degrees (M.A. and Ph.D.) in medieval European history. My doctoral dissertation concerned the lower government officials of the reign of Richard I Lionheart, the crusader king of England who died in 1199. From that research I have published a few articles and in 2000 co-authored with my former professor, Dr. Ralph V. Turner, a book entitled The Reign of Richard Lionheart.

Over the course of my career as a professor, I have taught many different courses, but the fields where I have been asked to do most of my teaching cover western history from its beginnings to about 1700 A.D. What follows is a list of the courses that I have taught at PC:

  • Ancient and Medieval Europe
  • Greeks, Romans, and Barbarians
  • Medieval England and France
  • Tudor and Stuart England
  • Renaissance and Reformation
  • History of Scotland
  • History of Ireland
  • Medieval Warfare
  • Senior Seminar (Topics I have taught include the Crusades, Inquisition, Rome, the Byzantines, the Stuart Dynasty of England, the Tudor Dynasty of England, and the Continental Reformation)
  • Short-term Study Abroad (Destinations to which I have taken students include France, England, Scotland, Italy, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Portugal, and the Azores)

My wife and I have four children who are either college students or beyond. We love living in the Upstate of South Carolina, especially enjoying camping, hiking to waterfalls, gardening (flowers and vegetables), and caring for our chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, rabbits, and pig.

Dr. Anita O. Gustafson

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Professor of History    
Office location: Neville Hall 101A
Office phone: 864-833-8499
Office email: aogustaf@presby.edu
B.A., North Park University
M.A., Ph.D. Northwestern Univ.

 

Research field:

American immigration

Teaching fields:

Early America, History of the South, Women in America, Immigration, Slavery

I have taught at Presbyterian College since 1997, so I have had the distinct pleasure of working with a great group of students and faculty. My research field is American immigration history, particularly the movement of people from Sweden to America, but I have also developed interests in a number of other areas in American history. I teach American Colonial and Revolutionary History, History of the South, Women in American History, Young America, Immigration History, Slavery and Freedom in America, American history survey courses, as well as the Rise of World Cultures and Ideas and the Modern World, which are PC’s general education courses. I have also led, with other faculty colleagues, travel courses to Oxford University and to the American West of Lewis and Clark.

I received my B.A. in Swedish and economics with a minor in history at North Park University in Chicago, Illinois. It was at North Park that I came to understand the value of an education received at a small liberal arts college. I earned my M.A. and my Ph.D. from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Shortly after completing my doctorate, my husband, Charlie, and I moved to South Carolina where a few years later our son Karl was born. We now enjoy living near the Presbyterian College campus and feel very much at home in South Carolina. In 2007 I was named Presbyterian College’s Professor of the Year and received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.

Despite living in a part of the country where few Swedes settled, I have continued my research in Swedish immigration history. I have published a number of articles, including: “’We Hope to be Able to Do Some Good’: Swedish-American Women’s Organizations in Chicago,” for which I received the Franklin Scott prize for best new article appearing in the Swedish-American Historical Quarterly. Others I have published are: “Jenny Lind on Tour: The Swedish Nightingale’s Visit to Charleston, 1850-1851,” “North Park: Building a Swedish Community in Chicago,” and “Teaching Swedish in the Public Schools: Cultural Persistence in Minneapolis.” I hope to have my manuscript, Making Chicago Swedish: The Shaping of an Immigrant Community in Chicago, 1880-1920, published soon.

Dr. Stefan W. Wiecki

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Associate Professor of History
Office location: Neville Hall 101C
Office phone: 864-833-7164
Office email: swwiecki@presby.edu
B.A., Free University in Berlin
Ph.D., Brandeis University

Research field:

Modern Germany

Teaching fields:

Modern Europe, Modern War, Fascism, Communism, and Democratic Transformations

Before joining the PC History Department in the fall of 2008, I taught modern European history for two years at Wellesley College. I received my undergraduate degree in history and political science from the Free University Berlin in Germany. After finishing my B.A. in 1999, I participated for a year in the Washington Semester Program at American University in Washington, DC and worked as an editor for a homeless newspaper and later as a research assistant for the Institute for National Strategic Studies.

In 2001, I joined the Ph.D. program in Comparative History at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. My research examines Germany’s transformation from Nazi dictatorship into democracy after WWII. I became interested in democracy development after serving as a NATO peacekeeper in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

My experiences there greatly inspired me to become a teacher and contribute to the development of democratic values through education. Here at PC, I offer courses on the origins and impact of modern war, especially WWI and WWII. Another class will compare fascist movements and regimes in Europe, East Asia, Africa, and South America

Dr. Roy B. Campbell

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Professor of History
Office location: Neville Hall 100
Office phone: 864-833-8363
Office email: rbcamp@presby.edu
B.A., Wingate University
M.A., Ph.D. Florida State Univ.

Research field:

Modern China

Teaching fields:

China, India, Middle East, Revolutions

I joined PC’s History department in the fall of 2002, directly after finishing my Ph.D. work at Florida State University. What led me to PC was the desire to teach in a small liberal arts college much like my undergraduate alma mater, Wingate University.  At PC, I teach a number of classes on Chinese History (my major field), and I also regularly offer courses in my minor areas of concentration, India and the Middle East.  Beginning with a Fulbright fellowship to the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu (the former New Hebrides), a great deal of my research over the years has centered upon the Western colonial experience in various areas of the world.  At PC, I’ve made this general interest a primary theme in a number of my specialty classes, such as Asia and the Western Impact, Violence and Terror in the Modern World, Millenarian Movements, and Violence and Revolution in the French Empire.  My favorite part of teaching at PC is the opportunity to lead students on trips abroad. Over the past few years, I’ve joined my colleagues in leading student groups to China, Oxford, Vietnam, Istanbul, Ireland, Jerusalem, Cairo, Barbados, Portugal and New Zealand. I also spent the summer of 2011 teaching on the Semester-at-Sea program’s Mediterranean voyage.

While I’m a native of North Dakota, I spent a good portion of my youth in the panhandle of Florida.  At Wingate, I met my lovely wife, Suzette, and since coming to PC we’ve been blessed with two adorable boys, Dakota (11) and Skye (9). As a family, we love traveling to out of the way places, and you’ll also see us in regular attendance at Blue Hose sporting events!

I’ll be on sabbatical during the fall semester of 2015, doing research in the French colonial archives on the colonial period in Vanuatu (Les Nouvelle Hebrides) as well as the French influence in China during the late-19th century.  I’ll be back in the spring of 2016, teaching Violence and Revolution in the French Empire and History of the Modern Middle East and North Africa.  I’ll also be leading a Maymester to bonnie ol’ Scotland next year!  So get out your bagpipes and stay tuned for more information

Dr. Michael A. Nelson

Dr. Michael Nelson History Department Presbyterian College Clinton SC

Professor of History
Department Chair
Office location: Neville Hall 106
Office phone: 864-833-8376
Office email: mnelson@presby.edu
B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College M.A., Bowling Green State Univ. Ph.D., University of Arkansas

Research fields:

U.S. Diplomatic and Military History, Cold War, and Vietnam

Teaching fields:

Modern World, Modern U.S., 1960’s America, Diplomatic, and Military History.

I came to PC in 2000 after finishing my Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas and teaching for a year at the University of Louisville. While my area of focus was American Diplomatic and Military History, specifically American involvement in Vietnam, over the years that has broadened to the cultural aspects of 20th-Century America. I am continuing to work on a biography of Roger Hilsman, who, in case you didn’t know, fought in World War II, was an architect of Cold War planning in the 1950s, and then joined the Kennedy administration as a policy advisor for Southeast Asia. After Kennedy’s death in 1963, Hilsman moved to academia and became a vocal critic of Lyndon Johnson’s handling of the Vietnam War.

The major reason I came to PC was that I wanted something akin to my liberal arts undergraduate experience at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. There I majored in History and Social Studies Education. After graduation, I got my M.A. in Policy History at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and then spent four years at Arkansas.

On a personal side, I have lived in a number of places throughout my life – Illinois, Ohio, Connecticut, Minnesota, Kentucky, Arkansas, and South Carolina. I met my wife Susan in Ohio. Originally from the Finger Lakes region in New York, she is a speech pathologist in the local school district. We have two wonderful boys, Patrick and Shane, as well as identical twin girls, Sidney and Kelly. As for my hobbies, I am an avid college football fan (go Hogs go!), love to travel, read, listen to music, and play with my kids.

Dr. Jaclyn A. Sumner

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Assistant Professor of History
Office location: Neville Hall 108
Office phone: 864-833-7165
Office email: jasumner@presby.edu
B.A., Northwestern University
M.A., Ph.D. Univ. of Chicago

Research Interests:

19th- and 20th-Century Mexico

Teaching Interests:

Mexico, Latin America, Race and Ethnicity, U.S.-Mexico Borderlands and Latino History, Atlantic World

Courses I have taught include History of Modern Latin America, History of Colonial Latin America, Race, Gender and Power in Latin America, History of Mexico, Indigenous Politics in Modern Latin America, as well as the Rise of World Cultures and Ideas and the Modern World, which are PC’s general education courses.

I am currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled, Democracy Under Don Porfirio: Mechanisms of Management and Control in Tlaxcala, Mexico, 1880-1915. The book offers a new critical examination of authoritarianism by showing how processes of regional governance were essential to underpinning national political order during the regime of Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz (1876-1910). I am also working on an article titled, “The Political Currency of Water during the Porfiriato,” which argues that the slow and arbitrary federalization of water in Mexico in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries created essential opportunities for state officials to adjudicate water rights and maintain political peace.

I completed my Ph.D. (2014) as well as my M.A. (2009) in Latin American history from the University of Chicago (2014), and my B.A. from Northwestern University (2005) where I studied history and Spanish. It was at Northwestern where I learned the tremendous value of forging close relationships with faculty through a liberal arts education. I have spent many years conducting research in Mexico on various fellowships, including a Fulbright DDRA fellowship and a Fulbright IIE fellowship. Before coming to PC in 2014, I taught at the University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In my spare time, I enjoy watching Chicago sports, listening to live music, cooking and baking with my chef husband Billy, and hiking with our puppy Logan (whom you may see on campus from time to time!)