Karen R. Merrill

Frederick Rudolph '42 - Class of 1965 Professor of American Culture
Hollander Hall Rm 308

Spring 2014 Class Hours:

Mon/Thu 2:35 pm – 3:50 pm

Mon/Wed/Fri 8:30 am – 9:45 am

Office Hours:

Tue 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

(and by appointment)


B.A. Oberlin College (1986)
M.A. University of Denver, Creative Writing/English (1988)
Ph.D. University of Michigan (1994)


Note: courses in gray are not offered this academic year.

HIST 253 (F)

Modern U.S. History

HIST 301 (F)

Approaching the Past: Westward Expansion in American History

HIST 371 / ENVI 371

The History of U.S. Environmental Politics

HIST 372 (S)

The North American West: Histories and Meanings

Current Committees

Athletics Committee (2013-2015)

Selected Publications


Public Lands and Political Meaning: Ranchers, the Government, and the Property between Them (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002)

The Modern Worlds of Business and Industry: Cultures, Technology, Labor, editor (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers, 1998)

The Oil Crisis (New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, forthcoming)

Articles and Essays:

“Desire in a Dry Land,” Journal of Urban History 29 (November 2004)

The New Deal’s West, in William Deverell, ed. Blackwell Companion to the History of the American West (New York: Blackwell Publishers, 2004)

Domesticated Bliss: Ranchers and Their Animals, in Matthew Basso, Laura McCall, and Dee Garceau, eds., Across the Great Divide: Cultures of Manhood in the U.S. West (New York: Routledge, 2000)

In Search of the Federal Presence in the American West, Western Historical Quaterly 30 (Winter 1999)

Whose Home on the Range? Western Historical Quaterly 27 (Winter 1996)

Research Interests

20th-century American Politics and Political Economy, American West, Environmental History

Theses Advised

David Samuelson, ’12 - Writing for Geneva:  Japanese Foreign Relations Rhetoric Surrounding the Manchurian Incident

Alex Roth ’08Global Strategies, Regional Realities: Moving Towards the Eisenhower Doctrine in the Middle East, 1955-1957

Jonathan Langer, ’04Half-Conquered Wilderness: The Failure of Settlement and Industrial Mining in Irwin, Colorado

Amanda Stout, ’04 - Breeding Hope: Science, Philanthropy, and the History of Mount Hope Farm, co-winner of the Turner Prize in History

Judith Harvey ’03Subsistence in Alaska: Balancing Competing Visions of the Land in Fish and Game Management (Environmental Studies) – winner of the Hardie Award in the Environmental Studies Program

Derek Ward ’02A History of the POW/MIA Issue – winner of the Turner Prize in History

Program Connections

Legal Studies