Crossroads of Conflict  |

Contested Visions of Freedom & The Missouri-Kansas Border Wars

Keynote Scholars

Nicole Etcheson is Alexander M. Bracken Professor of History at Ball State University. Etcheson is a scholar of 19th Century America and the Civil War, whose book, Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Period, is the definitive work on the clash of values that gave rise to the Civil War on the Missouri-Kansas border. Her most recent book, A Generation at War: The Civil War Era in a Northern Community, won the Organization of American Historians/Indiana Historical Society “Best Book on the Civil War” in 2012.

Kristen Tegtmeier Oertel is the Mary Frances Barnard Professor in 19th Century American History at the University of Tulsa. Her scholarly interests focus on issues of race, class, and gender. Her first book, Bleeding Borders: Race, Gender, and Violence in Pre-Civil War Kansas, analyzes the ways in which Native Americans, African Americans and women shaped the conflicts of the Border Wars. Her most recent work, Frontier Feminist, is a biography of Clarina Nichols, a prominent activist for women's rights in 19th Century Kansas. She published a biography of Harriett Tubman in 2015.

Christopher Phillips is Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati, where he teaches Civil War history. He is the author of a number of books about the Civil War era history of Missouri. His most recent book, The Rivers Ran Backward:The Civil War in the Middle Border and the Making of American Regionalism, discusses the ways in which citizens living in Midwestern border states constructed a variety of cultural responses to the challenges posed by the Civil War.

Jeremy Neely, Missouri State University, received the University of Missouri Distinguished Dissertation award in 2005. His first book, The Border between Them: Violence and Reconciliation on the Kansas-Missouri Line, is one of the only books to explore the Border Wars conflict from both sides of the state line.

Ann Raab, University of Missouri – Kansas City, received her PhD in archeology from the University of Kansas. Her research focuses on the material impact of the violence and destruction along the Missouri-Kansas border during the years of Bleeding Kansas and the Civil War. She has excavated a farmhouse and store that were burned during the war, as well as the site of the Battle of Island Mound.

Ethan Rafuse is Professor of Military History at the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. He also has taught at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Rafuse has authored numerous books and articles about Civil War battles and commanders. He has deep experience in interpreting Civil War battlefields and has authored a number of battlefield guides.

Academic Director: Diane Mutti Burke is an Associate Professor and chair of the History Department at the University of Missouri – Kansas City and the Director of the UMKC Center for Midwestern Studies.  She is the author of On Slavery’s Border: Missouri’s Small-Slaveholding Household, 1820-1865, and the co-editor, along with Jonathan Earle, of Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long Civil War on the Border. In addition, she is editing and annotating a 19th Century Missouri woman’s diary entitled A House of Her Own: The Diary of a Small-Slaveholding Woman and has begun work on a book about refugee populations during the American Civil War.  She regularly shares her scholarship with public audiences, frequently consults with cultural organization on their regional history related public programming, and serves on a number of boards of local history organizations.

Workshop Faculty

Christopher Cantwell is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  He is a scholar of American religious history and the director of the UMKC History Department’s Public History program. His research focuses on the history of evangelical Christians in the American Midwest.

Workshop Coordinator: Mary Ann Wynkoop is the former director of the American Studies Program at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.

Master Teacher: Dacia Rzchowski is a 30-year veteran teacher and a distinguished member of UMKC's High School College Partnership faculty. She has worked with the Crossroads teachers four times in the past and has attended numerous Landmarks workshops as an NEH scholar.

Museum Directors and Consultants

Katie Armitage is the author of Lawrence Survivors of Quantrill’s Raid.  She regularly conducts tours of the historic sites related to Civil War era Lawrence.

Mike Beckett is the administrator of the Watkins Mill State Park.

Rebecca Beckett is director of the Jesse James Farm and Museum.
Peggy Buhr is director of the Bates County Museum.
David Hawley is owner and excavator of the Steamboat Arabia Museum.
Kerrie Nichols is the director of the Wornall/Majors House Museums.
Tim Rues is an employee of the Kansas Historical Society and site administrator of Lecompton’s Constitution Hall.  He also plays the part of Jim Lane in programs conducted by the Lecompton Reenactors.
Donald Scott was born in Northeastern Missouri and rose to the rank of brigadier general in the US Army.  After his retirement from military service, he became the founding director of the Americorps National Civilian Community Corps and the chief operating officer of the Library of Congress.  General Scott was instrumental in gaining state park designation for the Island Mound State Historic Site, the location of the first military engagement between African-American troops and Confederate forces during the Civil War.

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Contact Us

NEH Border Wars
203 Cockefair Hall
University of Missouri-Kansas City
5121 Rockhill Rd
Kansas City, MO 64110

SUMMER 2017 Workshops
June 25 - June 30
July 9 - July 14

Sponsored by the
UMKC Center for Midwestern Studies

Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.