Skip to header Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Faculty & Staff

Meet Our Team

W. Taylor Fain, Ph.D.

Department Chair & Associate Professor: America in the World; International History

Ph.D. University of Virginia; M.S.F.S. Georgetown University; B.A. University of Virginia

Professor Fain specializes in the history of the United States' relations with the wider world and American history in global context. His research examines the evolution of the Anglo-American relationship, the international history of the Cold War, the United States' roles in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf regions, and the American response to European imperial retrenchment in the post war era. Currently, he is writing an international history of the United States in the Indian Ocean during the era of Cold War and decolonization. Dr. Fain is a former U.S. Department of State historian, and before coming to UNCW he served on the faculty of the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs where he was a scholar at the Presidential Recordings Program.

Morton Hall 260

Yixin Chen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor: Twentieth-Century Chinese History

Ph.D. Washington University in St. Louis

Dr. Yixin Chen earned his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, specializing in twentieth-century Chinese socioeconomic history, particularly the early period of the People’s Republic of China. He co-authored the book Paths To Modern Nations in Chinese and is the author of When Food Became Scarce: How Chinese Peasants Survived the Great Leap Forward Famine (forthcoming from Cornell University Press). His work extends to numerous articles published in academic journals in both English and Chinese, with contributions appearing in the U.S., China, and Hong Kong. In 2009, Dr. Chen was honored with the Bernon Carstensen Memorial Award for Best Article in Agricultural History. Some of his articles have been translated into Japanese. Currently, he is engaged in crafting a book-length manuscript studying the collective rebellions of peasants during the early years of the People's Republic of China. Dr. Chen teaches a diverse range of courses in East Asian history and global history, spanning from undergraduate surveys to graduate seminars

Morton Hall 230

Nathan Crowe, Ph.D.

Undergraduate Coordinator & Associate Professor: History of Science

Ph.D. University of Minnesota; M.A. North Carolina State University; B.A. St. Mary's College of Maryland

Professor Nathan Crowe is an award winning teacher and researcher. His first book, Forgotten Clones: The Birth of Cloning and the Biological Revolution, was published with the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2021. The book was honored as a top forty best seller in the History of Science by the Library Journal for 2021-2022. He is also the author of numerous articles on memory and memorialization of biotechnologies, the history of developmental biology after WWII, and the ethical and environmental issues emerging with contemporary research into marine biotechnologies. Prof. Crowe teaches a wide variety of courses related the history of science, technology, medicine, and medical humanities. His teaching has earned him every available teaching award at UNCW: The Distinguished Teaching Professorship Award, The Board of Trustees Teaching Excellence Award and The Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award. Prof. Crowe is also the department’s Undergraduate Coordinator. His dedication to undergraduates at UNCW earned him the Discere Aude award for outstanding student mentoring.

Morton Hall 228

Venkat Dhulipala, Ph.D.

Associate Professor: History of Modern South Asia 

Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison; M.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison; M.A. University of Hyderabad

Dr. Dhulipala is the author of the critically acclaimed Creating a New Medina: State Power, Islam and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial North India (Cambridge University Press, 2015). It was cited as the Best Book in Global Non-fiction for 2015 by Newsweek besides being widely reviewed and debated in various newspapers and magazines in India, Pakistan and the U.S. He is currently completing his second book titled Between Yan’an, Pakistan, and Hindustan: Communism, Islamism and Indian Nationalism in Hyderabad. Dr Dhulipala was awarded the prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for 2022-23 for this book project. His essays have appeared in premier journals such as Modern Asian StudiesIndian Economic and Social History ReviewEtudes Asiatiques, and Islamic Studies. Dr. Dhulipala has an M.A (Political Science) from the University of Hyderabad, an M.A (South Asian Studies) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Ph.D (History) from the University of Minnesota.

Morton Hall 257

Glen A. Harris, Ph.D.

Professor: African-American History; U.S. History; Harlem Renaissance; Civil Rights Movement; Hollywood and Black Film

Ph.D. Florida State University; M.A. North Carolina Central University; B.A. North Carolina Central University

Glen Anthony Harris received his Ph.D. from Florida State University and his MA and BA degrees from North Carolina Central University. He has taught at North Carolina Central University, North Carolina A&T State University, and Florida A&M University before joining UNCW's history department in 2002. He is the author of the following books: Social Justice and Liberation Struggles: The Photojournalist and Public Relations Career of Alexander McAllister Rivera Jr., (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, May 2023) and The Ocean Hill-Brownsville Conflict: Intellectual Struggles between Blacks and Jews at Mid-Century, (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2012). In addition, his most recent publications are: “The Crisis of Harold Cruse and Adolph Reed: A Perspective on the American Letter’s Tradition,” “How does it Feel to be a Problem: Reflections on the Trayvon Martin Case and the American Idea,” in The Trayvon Martin in US: An American Tragedy. Dr. Harris is currently working on the following project: An article length examination of Rivera's international trip to Accra, Ghana in 1957: “The Politics of Liberation: Alexander Rivera, the Pittsburgh Courier, and the African Independence Movement.”

Morton Hall 258

T. Robert Hart, Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer: Environmental History; U.S. South

Ph.D. University of Alabama; M.A. Clemson University; B.A. Furman University

Dr. Hart’s teaching and research examine the intersections of culture, politics, and the environment. His scholarship on the environmental politics of the Santee-Cooper hydroelectric project in South Carolina earned him the Jack Temple Kirby Award. He has published on various topics, including Reconstruction, civil rights, and agricultural policy. His current research focuses on bottomland forests in the southeastern United States, human-wildlife relationships in North America and South Africa, and the coastal history of the Carolinas. The latter project includes a student-curated digital project on North Carolina’s coastal environment. He received a PhD from the University of Alabama and MA and BA degrees from Clemson and Furman Universities.

Morton Hall 261

David Houpt, Ph.D.

Associate Professor: Revolutionary America; Political Culture; Atlantic World

Ph.D. City University of New York; M.A. George Mason University; B.A. The George Washington University

David Houpt is an historian of the era of the American Revolution whose work focuses on the political and ideological debates following the Declaration of Independence. In addition to teaching classes on the American Revolution and the Early American Republic, he offers courses on the history of American political parties, conspiracy theories, and the so-called Age of Democratic Revolutions. His first book, To Organize the Sovereign People: Political Mobilization in Revolutionary Pennsylvania was published by the University of Virginia Press in 2023.  

Morton Hall 234

Julius L. Jones, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor: African American History; Public History

Ph.D. University of Chicago; M.A. University of Chicago; B.A. Duke University

Dr. Jones is a historian whose research focuses on twentieth-century United States Cultural, Social, and Urban History, particularly the meanings of aspiration among racial and ethnic minorities. Currently, Dr. Jones teaches courses on United States and African American History. He is also an affiliate of the Public History and Africana Studies programs. Previously, Dr. Jones served as a curator at the Chicago History Museum, where he developed exhibition narratives, identified materials to be added to the museum’s collection, conducted object and image research, and spoke to the public on a variety of historical topics. Dr. Jones earned his Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago. He also has an M.A. in History from The University of Chicago and a B.A. in History and African and African American Studies from Duke University.

Morton Hall 221

David La Vere, Ph.D.

Professor: Southeastern and North Carolina Indians; Southern Plains

Ph.D. Texas A&M University; M.A. Northwestern State University; B.A. Northwestern State University

Prof. David La Vere, a former Marine infantryman, received his PhD from Texas A&M University and teaches Native American History. He is an award-winning historian, author and speaker. La Vere has written numerous articles as well as eight books, mostly on Native American history, including The Texas Indians, Contrary Neighbors, Looting Spiro Mounds, and The Tuscarora War: Indians, Settlers and the Fight for the Carolina Colonies. His most recent book is Erasure and Tuscarora Resilience in Colonial North Carolina (Syracuse University Press, 2024).

Morton Hall 233

Jennifer Le Zotte, Ph.D.

Associate Professor: Public History; Modern U.S. Material Culture; Race, Gender, and Sexuality

Ph.D. University of Virginia; M.A. University of Virginia; B.A. University of Florida

Jennifer Le Zotte is an associate professor of history and the director of the Graduate Public History program. She works with a broad array of community members to help her students tell diverse stories of local history. Her own research focuses on material culture, especially dress, as it intersects with race, gender, sexuality, and capitalism in the 19th and 20th century US. Her work has appeared in both academic and popular venues, including CNN opinion, and Smithsonian. Publications include From Goodwill to Grunge: A History of Secondhand Styles and Alternative Economies (UNC Press, 2017) and Changing Secondhand Economies, co-edited with Karen Tranberg Hansen, (Routledge, 2022). Her current book project, "Well Suited: A History of Style and Prejudice in the Land of Opportunity" looks at the origins of modern ideas about dress, power, respectability, and deviance through turn-of-the-twentieth-century sartorial lives.

Morton Hall 226

Stephen McFarland, Ph.D.

Professor: History of Flight; Technology; Middle East

Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin; M.A. University of Texas at Austin; B.A. University of Kansas

Professor McFarland specializes in the history of technology, world history, and the history of warfare.  His current research focuses on the history of fuels, flight, and the internal combustion engine.  A resulting manuscript, “America’s Pursuit of High Octane Gasoline,” is currently under review.  Previous publications include To Command the Sky (now in its fifth edition), America’s Pursuit of Precision Bombing, A Concise History of the U.S. Air Force, and Conquering the Night.  Two articles,  “A Peripheral View of the Origins of the Cold War: The Crises in Iran, 1941-1947,” and “Anatomy of an Iranian Political Crowd: The Tehran Bread Riot of December 1942,” have been republished in multiple sources.  Dr. McFarland has held faculty positions at St. Edward’s University, Auburn University, the Air War College, and most recently the University of North Carolina Wilmington, serving both as a professor and as graduate dean, associate provost, vice provost, and temporarily as provost at these universities.

Morton Hall 225

Eva Mehl, Ph.D.

Associate Professor: History of Latin America and the Spanish Empire

Morton Hall 229

Lynn W. Mollenauer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor: Early Modern European History

Ph.D. Northwestern University; M.A. University of Chicago; B.A. Amherst College

Dr. Mollenauer teaches courses in European history from the Renaissance to the French Revolution.  A cultural historian whose research examines the interconnections between science, magic, and religion, she is the author of Strange Revelations: Magic, Poison, and Sacrilege in Louis XIV’s France (Penn State Press, 2007).  In addition to her work on European history, Dr. Mollenauer has spearheaded recent initiatives at UNCW that examine the 1898 massacre and coup and its lasting impact on the greater Wilmington community. She is Co-Director of UNCW’s 1898 Legacies and Futures Research Collective, which aims to nurture constructive dialogue, innovative pedagogies, and new partnerships that contribute to the ongoing remembrance and restoration efforts taking place throughout Wilmington and the Cape Fear region. The volume of essays that she is co-editing, The 1898 Wilmington Massacre: Critical Explorations on Insurrection, Black Resilience, and Black Futures, should be available in 2024 from Louisiana State University Press.   

Morton Hall 232

Nathan Pilkington, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor: Ancient Mediterranean World

Ph.D. Columbia University; M.Phil. Columbia University; M.A. Columbia University; B.A. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Professor Pilkington studies the archaeology and history of the Ancient Mediterranean during the last millennium BCE. His primary academic interest is the history of peripheral peoples, particularly Phoenician populations. His first book, The Carthaginian Empire: 550-202 BCE (2019), reconstructs Carthaginian History using only the archaeological and epigraphic evidence found at Carthage and cities within its empire. In addition, Prof. Pilkington has written extensively on ancient health and demography (Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Cartagine. Studi e Ricerche) as well as epigraphy (BASOR).  At UNCW, much of Prof. Pilkington’s teaching centers on the ongoing Scientific Turn in historical studies. A native North Carolinian, he received his B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his Ph.D. from Columbia University. Prior to his appointment at UNCW, Prof. Pilkington was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Ancient Material Culture at Cornell University and a lecturer at Columbia University, Harvard University, and Fairfield University.  

Morton Hall 231

Michael M. Seidman, Ph.D.

Professor: Modern Europe and Social/Individual History

Ph.D. University of Amsterdam

Prof. Seidman is the author of five books. His most recent book is Transatlantic Antifascisms: From the Spanish Civil War to the end of World War II, published by Cambridge University Press (2018). His previous books have all earned awards. The Victorious Counterrevolution: The Nationalist Effort in the Spanish Civil War (2011) was honored by Revista de Prensa as one of the fifteen best “revisionist” books on the Spanish Civil War. The Imaginary Revolution: Parisian Students and Workers in 1968 (2004) was selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. Republic of Egos: A Social History of the Spanish Civil War (2002) was also selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. The Spanish website, Risbel, named it one of the “Ten Best Books on the Spanish Civil War.” Finally, Prof. Seidman’s first book Workers against Work:  Labor in Paris and Barcelona during the Popular Fronts (1936-38) (1991) has been translated into Japanese, Greek, Turkish, French, German, Spanish and Hungarian. More than thirty years after its initial publication, Workers against Work has established itself as a pathbreaking book in the history of labor. To learn more about his research, please visit his personal website.

Morton Hall 224 

Kenneth P. Shefsiek, Ph.D.

Associate Professor: Public History and Colonial U.S.

Ph.D. University of Georgia; M.H.P. Georgia State University; M.M. New England Conservatory; B.M. Ithaca College

Kenneth Shefsiek holds graduate degrees in history, historic preservation, and music, including a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Georgia. Before joining UNCW in 2012, he served as curator of education at Historic Huguenot Street and executive director of the Geneva Historical Society, both in New York. As a public historian, Dr. Shefsiek’s primary interests are historic house museums, historic site interpretation, the history of historic preservation, and the social, cultural, and political uses of history in the past and present. His first book, Set in Stone (SUNY Press, 2017), which received the Hendricks Award from the New Netherland Institute, explores ethnocultural transformation in colonial New York through a microhistorical exploration of a French-speaking community established in a Dutch cultural region in an English colony. His current book project, “A God of Order,” considers the challenges the Reformed churches in colonial America faced as they transported European ecclesiastical governing models to a colonial context. Related articles have appeared in de Halve Maen, The Journal of Presbyterian History, New York History, and The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 

Morton Hall 264

Robert Mark Spaulding, Ph.D.

Professor: Germany; European Political Economy; Global Trade

Ph.D. Harvard University; B.A. University of Rochester

Professor Spaulding is a scholar of German, European, and global political economy. He received the UNCW Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2005 and UNCW’s Discere Aude Award for undergraduate mentoring in 2012. His book, Osthandel and Ostpolitik. German Foreign Trade Policies in Eastern Europe from Bismarck to Adenauer (Berghahn, 1997) was a finalist for the American Historical Association's George Louis Beer Prize. His articles and essays have appeared in Agricultural History, Central European History, Diplomatic History, International Organization, the Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte and in numerous edited volumes.  He is a regular reviewer for H-Diplo and Central European History. He is currently completing a book for undergraduates on global history: From Port to Port: Global History from Ancient Times to 1650 as told by the World’s Great Port Cities (Cognella, forthcoming 2024). Spaulding’s research has been supported by the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD), the Ford Foundation, the International Research and Exchange Commission (IREX), the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, the Council for European Studies, the American Philosophical Society, and the Pope Foundation. Before coming to UNCW, Professor Spaulding was a Teaching Fellow in History at Harvard and a Lecturer in History at Boston College.  He held post-doctoral fellowships at the Center for International Studies and at the Center for European Studies at Harvard. In 2004 he was a Visting Professor at Peking University in Beijing, China. 

Morton Hall 227

Jarrod Tanny, Ph.D.

Associate Professor: Jewish and Russian History

Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley; M.A. University of Toronto; B.A. McGill University

Dr. Tanny is Associate Professor of History and the Charles and Hannah Block Distinguished Scholar in Jewish History at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Dr. received his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley, focusing on Russian and Jewish history. His first book, City of Rogues and Schnorrers (Indiana University Press, 2011), examines how the city of Odessa was mythologized as a Jewish city of sin, celebrated and vilified for its Jewish gangsters, pimps, bawdy musicians, and comedians. Since then, he has published many scholarly essays on Jewish Humor. His second book The Seinfeld Talmud (Academica Press, 2023) a satiric take on the hit TV series, in which the great rabbis of the Talmudic era gather in the Yeshiva to discuss and debate the issues raised in each Seinfeld episode weighed against Judaic law. He has also published numerous op-eds on antisemitism in The ForwardThe Times of Israel, and The Jewish JournalTablet Magazine, and the Jewish Review of Books. In 2022, Dr. Tanny founded the Jewish Studies Zionist Network.

Morton Hall 254 

Liz Timbs, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor: African History

Ph.D. Michigan State University; M.A. George Mason University; B.A. Belmont University

Professor Timbs teaches African, digital, and public history. Her own research focuses on the intersections of age, gender, and ethnicity in identity formation among Zulu-speakers in South Africa. Her current book project, entitled The Regiments, reconstructs how Zulu amabutho (age-grades, regiments) shaped male youth socialization for the past two centuries in South Africa. Her work has appeared in African Studies, the Journal of Southern Africa Studies, the South African Historical Journal, and the Journal of Natal and Zulu History. Prior to her appointment at UNCW, Prof. Timbs held a postdoctoral teaching fellowship in African History at North Carolina State University. She received her B.A. in History and Political Science from Belmont University, her M.A. in Comparative World History from George Mason University, and her Ph.D. in African History from Michigan State University.

Morton Hall 253

Paul Townend, Ph.D.

Professor: Modern and Early British and Irish History

Ph.D. University of Chicago; B.A. Colgate University

Professor Townend is an award winning researcher, teacher and administrator. His first book, Father Mathew, Temperance and Irish Identity (IAP, 2002), won the American Conference on Irish Studies James Donnelly Award, as the best book in the Social Sciences. Other publications include The Road To Home Rule: Anti-Imperialism and the Irish National Movement (UW Press, 2016) and a collection of essays, Ireland in an Imperial World: Citizenship, Opportunism and Subversion (Palgrave, 2017). He has also published articles and essays in Past and Present, Catholic Historical Review, and Eire/Ireland. Prof. Townend is from Lancaster, PA. He received his B.A. from Colgate University and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, where he studied under Emmet Larkin and Steve Pincus. He taught briefly at Villanova before arriving at UNCW in 2001. He has served as Department Chair for History (2009-2016), Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and Associate Dean in CHSSA.

Morton Hall 263

Tara White, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor: African American History; Public History; American; Women's History; Civil Rights History

Ph.D. Middle Tennessee State University; M.A. Cooperstown Graduate Program, SUNY at Oneonta; B.S. University of Alabama at Birmingham

Dr. White is a historian of African American, Southern women’s, public, and civil rights history. She teaches undergraduate courses in American history and African American history and graduate courses in public history. She has worked as a public historian since 1994. She has published book reviews and articles in peer-reviewed journals and contributed to edited works and encyclopedia entries.

Morton Hall 220

Angie Zombek, Ph.D.

Graduate Coordinator & Associate Professor: U.S. Civil War & Reconstruction; The Old South; Gender

Ph.D. University of Florida; M.A. University of Akron; B.A. College of Wooster

Dr. Zombek earned her PhD at the University of Florida. She is Managing Editor of Kent State University Press’s series, Interpreting the Civil War: Texts & Contexts. Her publications include: Stronghold of the Union: Key West Under Martial Law (Under contract - University Press of Florida), “Defending the U.S.’s Southernmost Possessions: Union Volunteers’ Occupation of Fort Jefferson and Key West, Florida.” Journal of Military History (forthcoming), “The Popular Press and the Personal Experiences of Civil War Prisoners,” in David Sachsman and Katrina Quinn, eds., Civil War Soldiers and the Press (Routledge, 2023), “The Power of the Press: Defining Disloyalty at Old Capitol Prison,” Journal of the Civil War Era (Sept. 2020), Penitentiaries, Punishment, and Military Prisons: Familiar Responses to an Extraordinary Crisis during the American Civil War (Kent State, 2018), “Citizenship – Compulsory or Convenient: Federal Officials, Confederate Prisoners, and the Oath of Allegiance,” in Paul J. Quigley, ed., The American Civil War and the Transformation of Citizenship (LSU, 2018), “Catholics in Captivity: Priests, Prisoners, and the Living Faith in Civil War Military Prisons,” in Michael P. Gray, ed., Civil War Prisons II (Kent State, 2018), “Paternalism and Imprisonment at Castle Thunder: Reinforcing Gender Norms in the Confederate Capital,” Civil War History (Sept. 2017).

Morton Hall 259
















Nana Amponsah, Ph.D.


Tyler Bennett, M.A.

Morton Hall 211


Ryan Chapman, M.A.

Sean Goforth, M.A.

Joseph P. Gouverneur, Ph.D.

Morton Hall 211

Matthew Hassett, M.A.

Morton Hall 213

Donald Johnson, M.D., M.A.

Morton Hall 213

Lisa Pollard, Ph.D.

Kristofer Ray, Ph.D.

Morton Hall 222

Kimberly Sherman, Ph.D.

Morton Hall 229







Carole Fink, Ph.D.

Kathleen A. Berkeley, Ph.D.

Candice Bredbenner, Ph.D.

Walter H. Conser, Ph.D.

Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr., Ph.D.

Susan P. McCaffray, Ph.D.

Melton McLaurin, Ph.D.

Lisa Pollard, Ph.D.

Robert Toplin, Ph.D.

Larry Usilton, Ph.D.

Alan Watson, Ph.D.