Dr. Myra Houser joined Ouachita's Department of History faculty in 2014. A 2007 graduate who was
initially torn between careers in teaching, journalism and law, she earned advanced
degrees from The College of William and Mary in Virginia (M.A., 2007) and Howard University
(Ph.D., 2014). She enjoys being able to both teach and write at Ouachita, merging
the best of all worlds. Myra teaches an array of courses in world history, including
Contemporary World and History of World Societies within the CORE curriculum, and
upper level history offerings in African, Caribbean and African Diaspora History.
Her research focuses broadly on twentieth-century movements for social change, particularly
those aimed at ending systemic racism, colonialism and apartheid in southern Africa
and the Americas.
She lives in Arkadelphia with her husband, three human children, and three beloved
What do you like most about your field?
I enjoy the fact that the study of History is the study of people! They are so complex
and ever-changing. I enjoy being able to interview folks and ask questions, and I
have always loved reading and writing, so I love the interpretive side as well. I
was drawn to studying trans-Atlantic History, because I am an American citizen raised
in southern Africa. So I like the opportunity to see how those worlds relate and have
related to each other.
Why did you enter the teaching profession?
I avoided it for a long time! Many of my family members are teachers, professors,
and educational administrators, so I wanted to do something different. But, as is
often the story, I found myself here anyway and am glad I did. The biggest change
occurred the summer after my freshman year at OBU, when I worked as a teacher in a
summer day camp. It was the job I could find, but I wound up loving it! We received
a lot of pedagogical training, and that is what made me begin to think this could
be a fun field after all. As a teacher, I really enjoy being able to connect with
and mentor students, and of course, I love being able to share with them about spaces
that are so near and dear to me.
What is a favorite moment of working with students at Ouachita?
Our departmental suite is Grand Central Station! Occasionally, that can make it challenging
to work, but I really love the moments when students just drop by to say hello or
talk through a challenge that they are experiencing. I'm not sure that I ever offer
much in the way of expertise, but it is nice to have that connection, whether to expanding
upon conversations we have had in class or to things unrelated. As a Ouachita alumna,
I am so grateful for the continued mentorship of my former professors, and now that
I am on the other side, I see how our approach to community is so beneficial for everyone.
What is your go-to snack?
Popcorn! And any type of chocolate.
If you were anything other than a professor, what would you be and why?
For a long time, I wanted to be a print or web journalist, because I love learning
about people, conducting interviews, and writing. I'm not sure I would like the strange
working hours, but maybe that! Or a lawyer. I study Legal History and have worked
in the profession in a few capacities, and it fascinates me; as a hyper-organized
person, I like the meticulousness of it.
What is your favorite place on campus and why?
It's hard to pick just one! I first visited Ouachita when I was 16 and knew this was
the place for me. I have been so blessed to grow here personally and professionally,
and the campus is full of memories. So to answer a different question, my favorite
time on campus is evening when the air is a little crisp. We live close by, and my
family walks our dogs here a lot. I enjoy the quietness of the space after the day
Areas of Expertise
Featured Courses Taught:
- Bureaucrats of Liberation: Southern African and American Lawyers and Clients During
the Apartheid Era (Leiden University Press, 2020).
- Coordinator, BA Program in Social Justice Studies Sponsor
- Alpha Chi National College Honor Society (Arkansas Beta Chapter) Co-Sponsor and Advisory
- Multicultural Student Programs Sponsor
- Young Democrats of Ouachita Baptist University
- Co-Sponsor, Chi Delta Women's Social Club