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. Roy B. Campbell

Professor of History
Office Location: Neville 214
Office phone: 864-833-8363
Office email: rbcamp@presby.edu
B.A., Wingate University
M.A., Ph.D. Florida State University
Curriculum Vitae

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 & Revolution in the French Empire.

My favorite part of teaching at PC is the opportunity to lead students on trips abroad. Over the years, I’ve joined my colleagues in leading student groups to such places as China, Vietnam, Turkey, Ireland, Israel, Egypt, Barbados, Portugal & the Azores, New Zealand, Scotland, the Galapagos, Morocco and Mexico. I also spent the summer of 2011 teaching on the Semester-at-Sea program’s Mediterranean voyage. The past two summers I have led small groups of recent PC graduates on a two-week New Alumni Adventure to Fiji and Vanuatu in the South Pacific.

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 we have two incredible boys, Dakota (14) and Skye (12).  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!

Dr. William J. Harris

harris_williamAssistant Professor of History
Office Location: Neville 228
Office Phone: 864-833-8517
Office Email: wjharris@presby.edu
B.A., Alabama State University
M.A., University of Akron
M.A., Cornell University
Ph.D., Cornell University
Curriculum Vitae

Research Fields:

19th Century U.S. History, African American History, History of the Antebellum South

Teaching Fields:

U.S. History, African American History, Race and Violence, Southern History, Civil Rights History

I received my B.A. from Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama before moving on to the University of Akron where I received my first M.A. in History.  While completing my M.A. and Ph.D. at Cornell University (2015) I had the honor of spending 6 years teaching in the History Department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in the Finger Lakes region of New York before spending a year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Slippery Rock University.  I am looking forward to continuing my career as a member of the History Department at Presbyterian College.

My historical interests are grounded in questions regarding the intersection of Race and Violence in the African American experience.  My dissertation, entitled “Community and (Dis)Order in Antebellum Mississippi: Identity and Violence in the Making of a Slave Society” examines constructions of identity and the ways in which people in antebellum Mississippi used concepts of self and the “other” to create communities and violently determine who would be included and excluded from them.  I have taught a number of courses related to U.S. History and African American History, and look forward to creating new classes related to my interests and to the interests of the students at PC.

When not teaching or writing, I devote the majority of my time to my wife, Ginia, and our two kids, BJ and Kennedy.   My favorite hobbies include travel, reading a good book, playing a round of golf, or watching my Hoosiers and Cowboys.

Dr. Richard R. Heiser

Professor of History
Office Location: Neville 234
Office phone: 864-833-8360
Office email: rrheiser@presby.edu
B.A., Nyack College
M.A., Ph.D., Florida State University
Curriculum Vitae

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
  • Ancient and Medieval Law
  • 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, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, and Poland)

My wife and I have four grown children who have begun to give us grandchildren. We enjoy living in the Upstate of South Carolina. Some of our hobbies and activities include camping, hiking to waterfalls, gardening (flowers and vegetables), and caring for our chickens and ducks.

Dr. Michael A. Nelson

Dr. Michael Nelson History Department Presbyterian College Clinton SC

Professor of History
Department Chair
Office location: Neville 232
Office phone: 864-833-8376
Office email: mnelson@presby.edu
B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College
M.A., Bowling Green State University
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

History-Faculty-web_2

Assistant Professor of History
Office location: Neville 230
Office phone: 864-833-7165
Office email: jasumner@presby.edu
B.A., Northwestern University
M.A., Ph.D. University of Chicago
Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests:

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

Teaching Interests:

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 Latin America, US-Latin America Relations, as well as Rise of World Cultures and Ideas and Modern World, which are PC’s general education courses. I also led students on a trip to the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico and will lead students on a trip to Spain in May of 2019.

My research examines regional politics in Mexico during Porfirio Díaz’s authoritarian regime (1876 to 1911). My book manuscript, Indigenous Autocracy: Governance and Power in Porfirian Tlaxcala, 1880-1915, explains how and why an Indian became the longest-serving governor during Díaz’s dictatorship, even though he was from Mexico’s indigenous, peasant majority, many of whom revolted against Díaz’s oppressive regime during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). The book remaps historical notions about race, authoritarianism, and governance by showing how a non-elite actor managed dictatorial power on the local levels. This research also informs my article “The Indian Governor of Tlaxcala and Acceptable Indigeneity in the Porfirian Regime,” forthcoming in the journal Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos (Nov. 2018). My research has been supported by a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation fellowship, a Fulbright IIE fellowship, PC Faculty Development study grants, and various fellowships through the University of Chicago.

I completed my Ph.D. (2014) as well as my M.A. (2009) in Latin American history from the University of Chicago, 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. Before coming to PC in 2014, I taught at the University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. When I am not writing or teaching, I enjoy spending time with my husband Billy, our toddling son Harrison, and our dog, Logan.

Dr. Stefan W. Wiecki

History-Faculty-web_4

Associate Professor of History
Office location: Neville 212
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

For general information about joining the Presbyterian College community as a student, please contact the Admissions Office at (800) 960-7583.

For more information about studying history at Presbyterian College, please contact Dr. Michael A. Nelson, chair of the History Department. His phone number is 864-833-8376. You can email him too.