Nineteenth Century Studies Focus Field

The History Department’s faculty in the Nineteenth-Century U.S. supports an integrated curriculum in the social, cultural, economic, intellectual, political, and legal foundations of American History during this transformational period. Areas of emphasis include women and gender, race and slavery, westward expansion, sectional tensions and the Civil War, legal development, economic change, intellectual and cultural transitions, and digital history. The History Department works with the Nineteenth-Century Studies Program to award a graduate specialization in Nineteenth Century Studies.

Several institutions at the University help to facilitate the study of the Nineteenth Century:

Our program enables students to pursue graduate specializations in a number of areas related to the study of the Nineteenth Century:

Our Faculty

Deirdre Cooper Owens

Margaret D. Jacobs: Chancellor’s Professor of History, specializes in transnational and comparative studies of the American West in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with a focus on women and gender as well as children and family. Through comparisons with Australia and Canada, she conceptualizes the American West as a site of settler colonialism and examines the complex historical processes and interactions that develop from this enterprise.

Katrina Jagodinsky: Associate Professor of History, specializes in borderlands and legal history. She is interested in the complex intersections of race, gender, and the law in the North American West. She focuses primarily on the periods of transition from colonial, to territorial, to early statehood legal regimes. Her scholarship examines the efforts of marginalized people to exercise rights within expansionist contests of power.

Jeannette Eileen Jones: Associate Professor of History and Ethnic Studies and affiliate of Women’s and Gender Studies, specializes in American cultural and intellectual history and African American Studies. Her research examines the ways in which “race” operated as a potent signifier of difference—cultural, biological, social, and political—in the United States and the West during the “long 19th century” and the early 20th century. She is the author of In Search of Brightest Africa: Reimagining the Dark Continent in American Culture, 1884-1936 (2010), and is currently working on a monograph and digital history project that explores U.S. engagement with the “African Question” from 1847-1919.

Timothy R. Mahoney: Professor of History specializes in 19th- century United States social and urban history. He is particularly interested in the intersection between local, regional, and national history, and considers himself a regional historian of the Midwest including Nebraska. Within that framework his research has focused on the economic and social history of small towns and cities across the Midwest and West, the development of the middle class in 19th- century America, and the role that gender – particularly men’s culture – played in that development. Currently, his focus is on the Civil War era and the Gilded Age. His work also focuses more generally on gender history, an international comparative history of the middle class or bourgeoisie, regionalism and interdisciplinary approaches to the history of the 19th century. He is also interested in historiography and historical theory.

Laura K. Muñoz: Assistant Professor of History and Ethnic Studies, studies the people and histories of Mexican American, Chicanx, and Latinx communities in the United States with an emphasis on race, gender and education in the American West. Her current book project,“Desert Dreams: Mexican Arizona and the Politics of Educational Equality,” explores how Mexican Americans embraced public schools as a conduit to political access and cultural preservation in the face of Americanization in the century following the Mexican American War. Prior to joining the University of Nebraska, she held the Joe B. Frantz Associate Professorship of American History at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

William G. Thomas III: John and Catherine Angle Professor in the Humanities and Professor of History at the University of Nebraska. He is a Faculty Fellow of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities. He has produced award-winning digital history projects, and his research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. His most recent book is The Iron Way: Railroads, the Civil War, and the Making of Modern America (Yale University Press, 2011). He is currently writing a history of early Washington, D.C. and the problem of slavery and freedom in post-Revolutionary America.

Kenneth J. Winkle: Sorenson Professor of American History, teaches American social, political, economic, and family history. His research centers on political and social history, community history, biography, quantitative analysis, and the Civil War Era. He is Coordinator of the UNL’s Nineteenth-Century Studies Program and Co-Director of the Civil War Washington digital project (