New Faces In History Department


The Department of History has a new chair and two new faculty members.

Diane Mutti Burke, Ph.D., is the new chair of the department, the first woman to hold that position at UMKC. Mutti Burke has degrees from Emory University and Dartmouth College, and also serves as director of the department’s Center for Midwestern Studies.

Mutti Burke’s scholarship focuses on the Civil War era history of Missouri. Her 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. She also co-edited with Jonathan Earle a collection of scholarly essays, “Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long Civil War on the Border” (University Press of Kansas, 2013). In 2015, she was recognized by the Missouri Humanities council with the Award for Distinguished Literary Achievement. She is affiliated with the Women and Gender Studies Program.

The two new faculty joining the department this fall are Sandra Enriquez and Brian Frehner.

Oral Historian Sandra Enriquez received her Ph.D. in Chicana/o History from the University of Houston. Her research focuses on Mexican-American grassroots activism and community preservation in neighborhoods in South El Paso, Texas, in the 1970s. Enriquez was one of four oral historians chosen to participate in the Civil Rights in Black and Brown Oral History Project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Enriquez will offer courses in conjunction with the Latino/a Studies and Urban Studies Program as well as introductory courses on oral and public history.

Brian Frehner comes to UMKC from Oklahoma State University. His research focuses on environmental history, energy and the American West. His book “Finding Oil: The Nature of Petroleum Geology, 1859 – 1920” received the Hal K. Rothman award for the Best Book on Environmental History from the Western History Association. Frehner is the recipient of a grant from the National Science Foundation to support a collaborative research workshop on “The Great Plain: An Environmental History.” His courses will contribute to the UMKC Environmental Studies program.

Both Enriquez and Frehner will contribute to the department’s public history program and the UMKC Center for Midwestern Studies.

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