department of history


Diane Mutti Burke

Department Chair
Associate Professor
Director, Center for Midwestern Studies

19th Century America, American South, Civil War, Early American Women, U.S. Social History

Affiliated Faculty, Women and Gender Studies Program

222C Cockefair Hall
Phone: 816-235-2549

Curriculum Vitae


2004 Ph.D. American History, Women's Studies Certificate, Emory University

1994 M.A., Emory University

1990 B.A. History, Dartmouth College

Bio Sketch

Diane Mutti Burke’s award-winning first book On Slavery’s Border: Missouri’s Small-Slaveholding Households, 1815-1865 (University of Georgia Press, 2010) is a bottom-up examination of how slavery and slaveholding were influenced by both the geography and the scale of the slaveholding enterprise. On Slavery’s Border focuses on the Missouri counties located along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to investigate small-scale slavery at the level of the household and neighborhood. She examines such topics as small slaveholders’ child-rearing and fiscal strategies, the economics of slavery, relations between slaves and owners, the challenges faced by enslaved families, sociability among enslaved and free Missourians within rural neighborhoods, and the disintegration of slavery during the Civil War.  

Mutti Burke has written a number of articles about slavery, women, and the Civil War in Missouri. She co-edited, with her colleague John Herron, a collection of articles about Kansas City from the Missouri Historical Review called Kansas City, America’s Crossroads, as well as a new collection of scholarly articles on the Missouri/Kansas Border War called Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long Civil War on the Border, co-edited with Jonathan Earle (University Press of Kansas, 2013). The articles in this collection were the product of a major public conference on the Civil War on the border held at the Kansas City Public Library in November 2011. In addition, Dr. Mutti Burke is completing an edited and annotated diary of a small-slaveholding Cooper County, Missouri woman named Paulina Stratton and has started work on a monograph about refugee populations during the Civil War.

Mutti Burke is deeply engaged in bringing the history of this region to the public through her role as the Director of UMKC’s Center for Midwestern Studies. She regularly speak to public audiences and consulted with a number of cultural institutions in the region about their Civil War Sesquicentennial programming. She also directs a National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop on the UMKC campus (Summers 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014). This program brings 80 teachers from throughout the nation to attend the week-long classes on the Kansas and Missouri Border Wars.

Courses Taught

> HIST 358R  History of the American South

> HIST 369  Women and Work in Early America

> HIST 400F  Teaching Regional History: Watkins Mill

> HIST 306  America, 1850-1877: Civil War and Reconstruction

> HIST 300C  Civil War in Memory & Film

> HIST 5582  Colloquium in American History I "Race, Class and Gender in 19th Century America

> HIST 5585GR  Colloquium in U.S. History "The American South"

Selected Publications

Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long Civil War on the Border, co-edited with Jonathan Earle, (University Press of Kansas, 2013)

On Slavery’s Border: Missouri's Small Slaveholding Households, 1815-1865, (University of Georgia Press, 2010)

A House of Her Own: The Diary of a Small-Slaveholding Woman, written by Paulina Donald Stratton, introduction and annotation by Diane Mutti Burke, (in preparation)

“‘Mah pappy belong to a neighbor’: The Effects of Abroad Marriages on Missouri Slave Families,” in Searching for Their Places: Women in the South Across Four Centuries, Thomas H. Appleton, Jr., and Angela Boswell, editors, (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2003), 57-78.

“‘May we as one family live in peace and harmony’: Relations Between Mistresses and Slave Women on Missouri's Farms, 1821-1865,” in Women in Missouri History: In Search of Power and Influence, LeeAnn Whites, Mary Neth, and Gary Kremer, editors, (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2004), 64-81.

Selected Grants, Honors & Awards

Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri, Kansas Notable Book (2014) and Kansas City Star, Top Books of 2013 On Slavery’s Border, Missouri Conference on History, Book Prize, 2011

2014, 2012, 2010, 2008 “Crossroads of Conflict: Contested Visions of Freedom during the Kansas and Missouri Border Wars,” Teaching With American Landmarks Grant, National Endowment for the Humanities, grant PI.

2008 Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, $3,200.

2007 Supreme Court of Missouri Historical Society Robert Eldridge Seiler Fellowship, Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City, Missouri, $3,000.