Matthew M. Stith
Title: Associate Professor
Building: CAS Office 127
- B.A., Missouri Southern State University
- M.A., University of Arkansas
- Ph.D., University of Arkansas
My teaching interests cover a wide-range of themes and periods in American history. I teach chronological courses on Antebellum America and the Civil War era as well as thematic classes about environmental history, borderlands, military history, the West, the South, and the Vietnam War.
I have two principal research and writing interests, both of which are connected to
environmental history. First, I am fascinated by the interplay between nature and
warfare throughout American history. My first book, Extreme Civil War (LSU Press, 2016), explores the nature and warfare dynamic within civilian-based
warfare during the Civil War. My next related project is a broader narrative history
of the Civil War in the Trans-Mississippi through an environmental lens. I have also
done some work on the Vietnam War that led to a collection of essays, co-edited with
Geoffrey W. Jensen, titled Beyond the Quagmire: New Interpretations of the Vietnam War (UNT Press, 2019).
My second research focus centers on bears—Black Bears (Ursus americanus) and Grizzly Bears (Ursus arctos horribilis)—in American history. I am chiefly interested in their place within the evolving nature of American culture and identity. My current book project, tentatively titled “Bears: An American History,” is a narrative history of bruins and humans from pre-Columbian America to the twentieth century.
When not teaching or writing about the natural environment, I try my best to get out into it—mostly by way of wandering around in the woods and fly fishing.
Selected Articles and Chapters:
“The Natural Environment and the American Military Experience in Vietnam,” in Geoffrey W. Jensen and Matthew M. Stith, eds., Beyond the Quagmire: New Interpretations of the Vietnam Conflict (Denton: University of North Texas Press, March 2019)
“Knights of the Brush: Guerrilla Warfare and the Environment in the Trans-Mississippi Theater,” in Barton Myers and Brian McKnight, eds., The Guerrilla Hunters: Irregular Conflicts During the Civil War (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, April 2017)
“Race and Irregular Warfare on the Trans-Mississippi Border, 1861-1865” in Geoffrey Jensen, ed., The Routledge History of Race and the American Military (New York: Routledge Press, 2016)
“‘Denizens of the Forest’: Hunting Black Bears and Identity in the Mississippi Delta,” Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies (Winter 2015)
“‘The Deplorable Condition of the Country’: Nature, Society, and War on the Trans-Mississippi Frontier,” Civil War History 58 (September 2012)
“Guerrillas, Civilians, and the Union Response in Jasper County, Missouri, 1861-1865,” Military History of the West 38 (2008)
“‘Women Locked the Doors, Children Screamed, and Men Trembled in their Boots’: Black Bears, People, and Extirpation in Arkansas,” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 66 (Spring 2007). Winner of the Violet Gingles Award for Best Essay, Arkansas Historical Association; Nominated for the Alice Hamilton Prize, American Society for Environmental History.