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Staff Profile

Dr Kevin Waite

Assistant Professor (Modern American History) in the Department of History

(email at

Kevin Waite is a political historian of the 19th century United States with a focus on slavery, imperialism, and the American West. His book-in-progress explores how slaveholders extended their political dominion across the American West in the mid-19th century, and in the process, hastened the coming of the Civil War. His next project follows the thousands of former Confederates who fled the country after the collapse of their rebellion in 1865. They dispersed across the globe -- to places like Brazil, Mexico, Fiji, and Egypt -- and attempted to resurrect systems of slavery and servitude in the so-called age of emancipation. His scholarly articles and book chapters have covered a wide range of subjects: manliness in Napoleonic-era English public schools; the political struggle over America’s first transcontinental railroad; the evolving myth of George Armstrong Custer in Hollywood film; and the Civil War in Indian Territory.

His short-form writing has appeared in TIME, the Huffington Post, the History News Network, the Conversation, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post, among others. He has also commented on television (CBS Los Angeles) and on National Public Radio in the United States. For links to his articles, media appearances, and c.v., click here.

Waite received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016, and he also holds degrees from the University of Cambridge (MPhil, Modern European History, 2011) and Williams College (BA, History, English, 2009).

Research Groups

Department of History

Research Projects

Department of History

Teaching Areas

  • HIST 1611 The Rise and Fall of American Slavery
  • HIST 2922 Conversations with History: Making America's Empire, 1776-1914
  • The Westward Expansion of the U.S. (online lecture series, via MASSOLIT)


Chapter in book

  • Waite, Kevin (Forthcoming). Custer's Last Stands: Remaking an American Frontier Legend in Hollywood Film. In Writing History with Lightning: Representations of Nineteenth Century America on Film. Inscoe, J. & Hulbert, M. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
  • Waite, Kevin (Forthcoming). War in Indian Territory. In The Cambridge History of the American Civil War. Sheehan-Dean, A. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1.

Journal Article

  • Waite, Kevin (2016). Jefferson Davis and Proslavery Visions of Empire in the Far West. Journal of the Civil War Era 6(4): 536-565.
  • Waite, Kevin (2014). Beating Napoleon at Eton: Violence, Sport and Manliness in England's Public Schools, 1783-1815. Cultural and Social History 11(3): 407-424.