Professor of History
Education: bachelor's degree from Harvard University; master's and doctorate degrees from John Hopkins University
Twelve years ago Dr. William Storey, professor of history at Millsaps College, looked for a case study that would help him understand how local people in South Africa adapted and modified a new technology, such as guns, and how they debated the right and wrong ways to use the technology.
Storey's work turned into the book, Guns, Race, and Power in Colonial South Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2008), selected by the Society for the
History of Technology to receive the 2009 Edelstein Prize that is given for the year's best scholarly book about the history of technology. The award was presented in October at the society's annual meeting in Pittsburgh.
Guns, Race, and Power in Colonial South Africa traces the co-evolution of guns, gun cultures, and colonial political economy in South Africa over three centuries. Through his writing, Storey explains how guns figured in the lives and everyday practices of the region's people and bridges the gap between historians of 19th century South Africa and historians of 19th century technology.
"Dr. Storey, like many of our professors, is an exceptional teacher who devotes time in and out of the classroom to make sure his students have a full understanding of the subject matter. He is also a committed scholar whose 12 years of research and writing have produced this groundbreaking work on the impact of technology on cultural and political change in southern Africa," said Dr. David C. Davis, interim vice president and dean of the College.
Since joining the Millsaps faculty in 1999, Storey has been recognized for his talents as both a teacher and scholar. He received the Outstanding Young Faculty Award from Millsaps in 2003 and the Teaching Award from the Mississippi Humanities Council in 2006. In addition, he has received grants from the Mellon Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Millsaps College that have allowed him to travel to England and South Africa to complete research for the book.
He first began working on the book in 1997 and spent two years working on it full time. After coming to Millsaps, he spent a majority of his time teaching and learning with Millsaps students as well as with his own five children - now ranging from ages five to 11. Each summer was devoted to writing a chapter, and during a sabbatical in the 2007-2008 school year, Storey spent four months making the final revisions.
"I'd say that if there is one lesson to be learned from the book, it's that the successful regulation of a technology (guns, cell phones, contraceptives, etc.) depends on reconfiguring notions of citizenship," Storey said.
Incorporating scholarly research into the classroom is a way to bring the subject area to life. Storey used many of the responses and comments students in his British Empire class made about the first draft of the manuscript to shape the book's final form. Next semester, he plans to use parts of the book in his new Environment, Technology, and Power class.
Since finishing the book, Storey has completed another book, The First World War: A Concise Global History (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009). His next project is a biography of Cecil Rhodes, the diamond magnate and politician who endowed the Rhodes Scholarships. He intends the book to be the first biography on Rhodes written from the perspective of the environment and technology.
Storey earned his bachelor's degree in history at Harvard University in 1987. He completed a master's degree in history in 1990 at Johns Hopkins University, where
he received a doctorate in 1993.