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
Matthew M. Stith’s teaching interests cover a wide range of themes and periods in American history. He teaches 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. He is the author or editor of four books that are nearly as varied as the courses he teaches.
Prof. Stith’s research and writing interests relate primarily to environmental history. First, he is fascinated by the interplay between nature and warfare throughout American history. His first book, Extreme Civil War: Guerrilla Warfare, Environment, and Race on the Trans-Mississippi Frontier (LSU Press, 2016), explores the nature and warfare dynamic within civilian-based warfare during the Civil War. He is also co-editor with G. David Schieffler of an edited collection titled Hundreds of Little Wars: Community, Conflict, and the Real Civil War, under contract with LSU Press. His next book-length project related to the Civil War era is an environmental and cultural history of the Confederate prison at Camp Ford, Texas.
Prof. Stith has explored the connections between nature and war in the 20th century as well. His first project to this end 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). He also recently teamed-up with Mandy Link to co-edit a volume titled New Perspectives on the First World War: Beyond No Man's Land, forthcoming with Palgrave MacMillan.
In his spare time, Prof. Stith’s second research focus centers on nature and culture
beyond the battlefield--namely bears. He is in the writing stages of a book tentatively
titled “American Ursus: A Cultural and Environmental History of Bears in the South.”
The book is a narrative history of black bears and humans in the American South from
prehistoric times to the present.
When not teaching and writing about the natural world, Prof. Stith tries his best to get into nature—mostly by way of wandering around in the woods and fly fishing.
Selected Articles and Chapters:
“War at Home: Nature, Agriculture, and a Confederate Community in Texas,” in G. David Schieffler and Matthew M. Stith, eds., Hundreds of Little Wars: Community, Conflict, and the Real Civil War (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, forthcoming)
“Vermin in the Trenches: Rats, Lice, and the Ubiquitous War with Nature,” in Mandy Link and Matthew M. Stith, eds., New Perspectives on the First World War: Beyond No Man’s Land (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming)
“Irregular and Guerrilla Warfare during the Civil War,” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History, ed. Jon Butler (New York: Oxford University Press, January 2023) [6,000+ word, peer-reviewed essay]
“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