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Casey Harison, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of History

I was born in Laramie, Wyoming and raised in the west until my family moved to New Orleans when I was 10. All of my education has been in public schools. I have a bachelorís degree in political science from the University of New Orleans and a masterís degree in history from LSU. My doctorate in history is from the University of Iowa. Iíve been teaching for more than 20 years, mostly at USI, but also at colleges in Iowa while completing my graduate studies. Iíve been at USI since 1992. Here, I teach upper-division classes in modern European history, as well as the first-year modern World history. I also teach a few more specialized courses, including ďFrench Revolution and NapoleonĒ and ďHistory and Film.Ē I live in downtown Evansville. For fun, I like to travel, exercise, hike, read, listen to music and go to movies.

Teaching is the primary responsibility of faculty, but I devote as much time as I can to research and writing. Most of my work has been set in nineteenth-century Paris. Iíve published articles on French workers, on collective action in Paris, and on how Americans have interpreted the French Revolution in textbooks and movies. External funding for research is difficult to get since my interests place me in competition with scholars at major institutions across the United States, and so I appreciate the financial support and sabbaticals provided by the university. This funding has allowed me to work in libraries and archives in Paris, including the archives of the city of Paris, as well as Franceís National Library and National Archives. This past March, while on sabbatical leave, I worked in Amsterdam at the International Institute of Social History, an accommodating and hospitable archive that holds manuscripts, newspapers, pamphlets and other research materials from throughout the world. My project at the IISH had to do with French reactions to the Russian Revolution of 1905. For this, I consulted manuscript collections of politicians and labor leaders, newspapers of the era and obituaries of Louise Michel, a well-known political personality and self-described ďfriend of Russia,Ē whose death and burial amidst much public memorializing happened to coincide with the start of the 1905 revolution. I presented a paper on my work at the European Social Science History Conference (also in Amsterdam) in March and currently am completing an article on the topic. Scholarly work like this is not only personally fulfilling, but also beneficial to my students because it keeps me on top of the literature and enthused about the history.

Iím probably at mid-career here at USI and now, as when I started, a persistent challenge is to find the right balance among teaching, scholarship and service. Iíve taught a great many students and (probably) too great a variety of classes since arriving on the campus 14 years ago. With so many preparations and so many different courses, it is easy to feel like Iíve spread myself a little thin. Looking down the road, I would dearly love to see Liberal Arts faculty teaching fewer classes, coupled with more opportunities for scholarship like the very satisfying sabbatical year I have just completed, and with even more resources for research. The new Rice library is certainly one welcome step in this direction.

August 2006