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. We are always keen to connect with students, future students, and families.
Full-Time Teaching Faculty
Christopher Ryan Mortenson, associate professor and department chair
Christopher R. Mortenson came to Ouachita in August of 2008. He earned a B.A. from Cornell College in 1997, M.A. from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 1999, and 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
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 (2007), then an MA in comparative history from the College of William and Mary (2009) and PhD in African and African Diaspora History at Howard University (2014). She has also been a visiting researcher at the University of the Western Cape and received research 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 transnational anti-apartheid work. She has published in Atlantic Studies, History in Africa, Human Rights Review, and Safundi, 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.
Signature Courses: (Introduction to) African History, Apartheid, The Caribbean, Colonial Africa, Decolonization, African Enslavement, Introduction to Social Justice, seminars and practicums in Social Justice Studies
special assistant to the president for graduate and professional studies
Monica Hardin has been at Ouachita since 2018. She is a 1998 OBU alum, where she earned a degree that no longer exists: BSE: Social Studies and Spanish. She holds the M.A. and Ph.D. in Latin American History (2003, 2006) from Florida State University, where she worked with Rodney D. Anderson on the NEH-funded Guadalajara Census Project. Her book, Household Mobility and Persistence in Guadalajara, Mexico: 1811–1842 was released in 2016 with Lexington Press. She is grateful to be included on the History Department’s faculty roster while she serves as Special Assistant to the President for Graduate and Professional Studies.
Lisa K. Speer, associate professor, university archivist, and public history coordinator
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