Our faculty advise students, research, and rotate teaching the survey, Introduction to Historical Studies, Topical Seminar, and Research Seminar courses. They even keep a stash of Dum-Dums ready in the departmental office and would be happy to discuss the study of history at Ouachita. Please feel free to reach out.
Christopher Ryan Mortenson, associate professor and department chair
Christopher R. Mortenson came to Ouachita Baptist University in August of 2008. He earned a B.A. from Cornell College in 1997, a M.A. from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 1999, and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 2007. He has completed multiple book reviews, and has participated in panels for the Society for Military History Conference, the Ohio Valley History Conference, the Arkansas Historical Association, and the Arkansas Association of College History Teachers (AACHT). He served as the AACHT’s president from October 2012 to October 2014. He also continues revisions on a book manuscript, contracted for publication with Oklahoma University Press. The manuscript is tentatively titled “Lew Wallace, the Civil War, and Political Generalship.”
Signature Courses: Colonial North America and the Revolution, The Fragile American Republic, Civil War and Reconstruction, The Antebellum South, The New South, US Military History
Bethany E. Hicks specializes in Modern German and Cold War European History with an emphasis on migration, memory, and gender. Hicks received her Ph.D, (2010) from Michigan State Univesity and a B.A. (2003) in History and German from Western Michigan University and was a Fulbright IIE scholar in residence (2008-2009) at the Institute for Migration and Intercultural Studies at the University of Osnabrück (Germany). Her current research examines the phenomenon of state-sponsored ransoming schemes during the Cold War, and in particular, the role of American intelligence agents in facilitating state exchanges between the West and East German governments between 1968 and 1989.
Signature Courses: Medieval Europe, Early Modern Europe, Revolutionary Europe, The World at War, Europe Since 1945, Germany and Central Europe, Russia and Eastern Europe
Myra Ann Houser, assistant professor and coordinator, BA in social justice studies
Myra Ann Houser teaches courses on Africa and the Caribbean. An OBU alumna, she received her BA in history, mass communications, and Russian in 2007, then earned an MA in comparative history from the College of William and Mary in 2009 and PhD in African and African Diaspora History at Howard University in 2014. She has also been a visiting student at the University of the Western Cape and received funding from Phi Alpha Theta, the American Historical Association, Columbia University, and the Tokyo Foundation. She is interested in many things, primarily legal and intellectual histories of decolonization and anti-apartheid work as they relate to transnational connections. She has published in Atlantic Studies, History in Africa, Human Rights Review, and Safundi, and in edited volumes and on professional blogs. She is currently revising a monograph on the Southern Africa Project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She has also begun work on two new projects–a biography of activist George Houser (no relation) and a monograph on liberation-related legal infrastructure developments in Frontline States.
Signature Courses: (Introduction to) African History, Colonial Africa, Decolonization, African Enslavement, Apartheid, The Caribbean, Introduction to Social Justice
Lisa K. Speer returned to Ouachita in February 2018. A 1984 graduate of OBU with a B.A. in History, Speer currently also serves as Acting Archivist in Riley-Hickingbotham Library. Before returning to OBU, Speer held the position of State Historian and Director of the Arkansas State Archives from June 2013 to February 2018. In addition to her undergraduate degree in history, Speer also earned M.A. (1991) and Ph.D. (1998) degrees in American History from the University of Mississippi, and a Master of Library and Information Studies degree from The University of Alabama (2000). Prior to returning to her native state of Arkansas in 2013, Speer served as Associate Professor and Head of Special Collections at Southeast Missouri State University for 12 ½ years. She also worked in Special Collections at both the Universities of Mississippi and Alabama from 1993-1999.
Signature Courses: Archival Studies, Local and Community History, Grant Writing