If you major or minor in history at Millsaps, you will learn alongside distinguished faculty who have achieved national recognition as teachers and scholars. Their specialties are diverse and include history of Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, giving students a wide variety of course selections. In addition to engaged learning in the classroom and in the Jackson community, faculty members either direct or are involved in study-abroad programs in England, Ghana, and Vietnam.
History students understand that the really important historical questions—the “why” questions—have no single right answer, but that all interpretations must be judged on the basis of the evidence that is offered to support them. The history experience at Millsaps College values the variety of ways we search for those answers. Reading, writing, and collaboration in the classroom is complemented by community partnerships, travel experiences, and hands-on learning opportunities that put your skills into practice.
B.A., William Carey College; M.A., Baylor University; Ph.D., Northwestern University
"My passion for history developed in high school as I explored slave forts and castles along the coast of Ghana and listened to the stories told by the drummers in the northern regions of that country. The pursuit of this passion has led me on adventures from the Poverty Point mounds of Louisiana to the temples on Bali in Indonesia. My approach to teaching the history of Africa and the Middle East is to try to bring some of those places and faces into the classroom through the 'artifacts' left behind by the very folk who lived out those events. The texts they wrote, the weapons they crafted, and the textiles they wove tell us about their world and invite us to share that world. It is from these pieces of evidence that historians ply their craft and try to answer some of the enduring questions of the human condition."
B.A., Louisiana State University; M.Ed. , M.A., University of Georgia; Ph.D., Rutgers University
"My students will tell you I’m obsessed with digging up documents in the archives (and they’re right!). I search out documents that help students learn historical empathy. In my courses, I ask them to engage in great acts of imagination across time and culture, so I give them documents that help them learn that practice. Letters home from medical students that offer some commonality with Millsaps students, or documents describing cures for familiar diseases that differ from modern-day therapies are good for igniting students’ sense of justice in the classroom. Documents that spark outrage—reports of government sponsored testing on minorities, for example—help students to think about the complexities of historical understanding.
"History is largely about telling stories, and we do a lot of oral history in my classes. My students interview all kinds of people from family members to pioneering doctors at UMMC to ordinary folks to each other. They turn their interviews into short films or presentations about the people and issues they are passionate about.
"If you haven’t guessed, I teach classes about medicine, culture (including classes on the History of Black Markets, of Political Scandals, and of New Orleans), and the French-speaking world. I also teach classes in women’s and gender history.
"When I’m not working, you may find me swimming or paddling a kayak somewhere. I love traveling, and would like to help you do that, too. I also direct an internship at the NIH for history students. If you’re interested in history, shoot me an email and let’s talk."
B.A., Rutgers University; M.A., Ph.D., State University of New York—Binghamton
Dr. Robert S. McElvaine is the author of ten books and has four more in the works. He is considered one of the world's leading historians of the era of the Great Depression. His specialties include cultural and political history and sex and gender. He teaches courses in American history and interdisciplinary courses on segments of twentieth-century America. Currently he is completing a comprehensive history of America in the year 1964. He travels abroad extensively and teaches a course in Vietnam and Cambodia on the American War in Vietnam.
"Several of my passions come together in the classroom. I love to teach, write, and travel. I write in a conversational tone and consider my writing as teaching to a larger audience. In the classroom this means much interaction and discussion with students. My objective is always to talk not to students, but with students.
"What I write about often finds its way into the classroom, and most of my foreign travels produce insights that are useful in class. I also love music and film and these media are featured prominently in my classes. My courses on the Great Depression, the Forties and Fifties, the Sixties, and the Seventies and Eighties all utilize literature, films, and music and involve students in much discussion."
B.A., Millsaps College; M.A., Ph.D., Mississippi State University
Stephanie Rolph, assistant professor of history, is a native of Jackson and a Millsaps alumnus (1999). She earned her M.A. in 2004 and her Ph.D. in 2009 from Mississippi State University, where she specialized in the history of the American South. Since arriving in fall 2010, Rolph has offered a variety of courses including Mississippi History, Civil War, Colonial America, Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Masculinity in the Twentieth Century, Women and Men in America, and Afro-American Heritage, in addition to Core Curriculum courses. Rolph also serves as the internship coordinator for the History Department and faculty director for Community Engaged Learning. Her expertise in southern history, her Jackson roots, and her commitment to Millsaps as her alma mater make active, experiential learning a priority for Rolph. Her students are likely to find a rigorous exposure to the discipline's traditions and are challenged to consider innovative ways that historians can make contributions to their communities through preservation, memory, educational outreach, and the construction of identity. Rolph is currently writing her book, Whiting Out the Movement: The Citizens' Council and Civil Rights in the South.
A.B., Harvard University; M.A., Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University
William Kelleher Storey is professor of history at Millsaps College, where he has taught since 1999. Storey teaches classes about the British Empire, South Africa, the First World War, and the Second World War, often with a focus on environment and technology. He has also taught British Studies at Oxford. His classes are typically discussion-based seminars in which students learn about the past by means of direct engagement with source materials. Storey hopes to build a community of writers at Millsaps College and often shares his own research and writing with students.
He is the author of four books, all of which have been drafted and revised in dialogue with students. Two books are based on research about environmental and technological aspects of imperialism: Guns, Race, and Power in Colonial South Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2008) and Science and Power in Colonial Mauritius (University of Rochester Press, 1997). He is also the author of two textbooks that draw on his teaching at Millsaps: Writing History: A Guide for Students (Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2012) and The First World War: A Concise Global History (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009). Storey is currently writing a biography of Cecil Rhodes.
For his commitment to teaching and writing, Storey has been recognized as the Mississippi Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He has also won the Millsaps Distinguished Professor Award and the Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher Award. His writing has won the prizes for the best journal article and best scholarly book from the Society for the History of Technology. His research has been sponsored by grants from Fulbright, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.