Ohio University

Brian Schoen

Brian Schoen
Associate Professor & Department Chair
Bentley Annex 433

Recent News


  • Ph.D. in History from the University of Virginia
  • M.A. in History from the University of Virginia
  • B.A. from the University of Arkansas


  • Atlantic World; 19th Century
  • United States
  • State Craft; Political Economy

Brian Schoen (pronounced SHANE) is Associate Professor, Assistant Chair, and Director of the Master of Social Science in the Department of History. His research and teaching focus on the political, social, economic, and intellectual history of the early United States from its early struggles through its near dissolution in the midst of the Civil War. His research examines how international developments shaped regional perception, politics, commitment or opposition to slavery, and relationships to and within the federal union.

Before coming to Ohio University in 2006, he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Library Company of Philadelphia and taught at Georgetown University and California State University, Sacramento. During the 2014-15 academic year, he was the Fulbright-sponsored Mary Ball Washington Professor of American History, at the University College, Dublin. While there, he delivered two public lectures: “American Interregnum: Secession, the US Civil War & the 19th Century’s Crisis of Governance,” and the Lincoln Lecture, “Abraham Lincoln: The Life and Death of a Statesmen,” available as a podcast through the HistoryHub.

He has presented to a variety of local and state level historical groups and was the content editor for An Introduction to Ohio University. He is currently working on a new book-length study of the statecraft of the sectional and secession crises and shorter pieces on Civil War diplomacy and Ohio politics during the Civil War. His work has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Commission, the Filson Institute, and an Ohio University Baker Fund Grant.



The Fragile Fabric of Union: Cotton, Federal Politics, and the Global Origins of the Civil War, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009)

Winner of the 2010 Southern Historical Association's Bennett H. Wall Award

Co-editor (with Frank Towers and L. Diane Barnes), The Old South’s Modern Worlds: Slavery, Region, and Nation in the Age of Progress (Oxford University Press).

Co-editor (with Patrick Griffin, Robert G. Ingram, Peter S. Onuf) Between Sovereignty and Anarchy: The Politics of Violence in the American Revolutionary Era (The University of Virginia Press, 2015)

In addition Brian Shoen has authored several articles and book chapters on politics, southern history, slavery, and the Civil War.

Recent Articles and Book Chapters

“Southern Wealth and Global Profits: Cotton, Economic Culture, and the Coming of the Civil War,” in The Transnational Significance of the American Civil War, edited by Jörg Nagler, Don Doyle, and Marcus Graeser, Palgrave-Macmillan Press. Transnational History Series, (eds. Rana Mitter and Akirya Iriye), 2017.

The Political Economies of Secession.” Journal of the History of Economic Thought 37:2 (June 2015): 203-219.

“The Statecraft of Secession and War: How Foreign Powers Unintentionally Shaped the Start of War,” in The American Civil War in a Global Context, edited by Peter Stearns (Richmond, VA: Sesquicentennial Commission, 2015): 16-26.

The Fate of Republics and Empires Hang in the Balance: The United States and Europe during the Civil War Era.Organization of American Historians, Magazine of History 27:2 (April, 2013): 41-47.


  • HIST 2000: Survey of United States History, 1600-1877

  • HIST 2300: Capitalism and Its Critics: An Intellectual History (Next Offered: Spring 2017)

  • HIST 3008/5008: Early U.S. Republic

  • HIST 3018/5018: History of the American South to 1900 (Next Offered: Spring 2017)

  • HIST 3081/5081: The Civil War and its Aftermath (Fall 2016)

  • HIST 3111J: Historical Research and Writing (Fall 2016)

In addition to his regular course offerings, Schoen routinely offers Honors Tutorials in these and related areas, graduate independent studies, and M.A. thesis supervision in 19th-century U.S. history.