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Department of History

MJ Morgan

Assistant Professor

MJ Morgan with photographer JenMJ with photographer Jen Colten (backpack), conducting field research in the American Bottom, November 2015.

Office: 111A Leasure Hall

Email: morganm@k-state.edu 

MJ Morgan received her Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati, with a specialty in French colonial North America, the Mississippi Valley, 1650-1850, and riverine environmental history. She also holds degrees in writing from the University of Alaska. Currently assistant professor of history and Research and Curriculum Director, Chapman Center for Rural Studies, she teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in interdisciplinary approaches. In her class on migration, settlement, town formation and persistence, she guides students in fieldwork methodology and interpretive writing about place. She is strongly interested in the concepts of regional history and population mosaics determined by rivers. Her book, Land of Big Rivers: French and Indian Illinois, 1699-1778, was released in 2010 by Southern Illinois University Press. She also published, in the same year, Portrait of a Lost Town: Broughton, Kansas: 1866-1969.  Her latest work, Border Sanctuary:  The Conservation Legacy of the Santa Ana Land Grant (Texas A & M, 2015) won the Calvert Prize and the Jim Parish Award for Documentation and Publication of Local and Regional History (Webb County Heritage Foundation). 

Select Publications

In addition to her books, she has published articles on French America and reviews of regional history and archaeology in the Journal of Illinois History, Ohio Valley History Journal, Louisiana History,Journal of the Early Republic, and Wintherthur Magazine. She has contributed a chapter on the French and Cahokia Indians to a historical geography collection, Geography, History, and the American Political Economy (Rowland and Littlefield, 2009); and her dissertation was a finalist for the 2006 Great Lakes American Studies Award. She is currently working on the history of some of the first national waterfowl refuges established in the 1930s.  She also is an invited contributor to "Charting the American Bottom," a NEH-funded digital itinerary project directed by Dr. Jesse Vogler of Washington University, Saint Louis, premiering summer of 2016.

Courses Instructed
  • History 251: America to 1877
  • History 300: Intro to Historical Thinking 
  • History 533: Special Topics: African American Kansas
  • History 589: Lost Kansas Communities
  • History 558: Kansas History
  • History 586: History Capstone
  • History 798: The Seven Years War
  • History 799: (Graduate) Nineteenth Century History
  • HIST 986: Special Problems in Louisiana Regional History
  • Workshops on Realities of the American Fur Trade and Geography and History
Additional Information

Students interested in research specializations in environmental history, local and regional history, and in using interdisciplinary approaches that include historical geography should contact me.  Chapman Center for Rural Studies, part of the KSU history department, is building an archive of student-authored Kansas history. A diversity of undergraduate and graduate interests has vitalized Chapman Center for Rural Studies, and our interns have found professional positions as archivists, GIS directors, and museum curators. The current Chapman Center collections include student-produced cartography, articles on Kansas History and Life, and a Lost Town archive of over 150 histories of lost communities.