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Brian Schoen

Brian Schoen
Associate Professor & Department Chair of History, and the James Richard Hamilton/Baker and Hostetler Professor of the Charles J. Ping Institute for Teaching of the Humanities
Bentley Annex 433

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  • 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 and Chair of the Department of History and the James Richard Hamilton/Baker and Hostetler Professor of Humanities.

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 forums domestically and abroad and is currently completing a co-edited collection on Ohio's early settlement and one situating the Civil War into a continental perspective, in addition to a new book-length study of the statecraft of the sectional and secession crisis of 1860-1861. 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, (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009). Winner of the 2010 Southern Historical Association's Bennett H. Wall Award

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

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

A Continent in Crisis: The U.S. Civil War in North America (Fordham University Press, in-press) co-edited with Jewel Spangler and Frank Towers.

Recent Articles and Book Chapters

“Containing Empire: The United States and the World in the Civil War Era,” for Mark Philip Bradley, (general editor) The Cambridge History of America in the World, Volume 2: The Nineteenth Century, eds. Kristin Hoganson and Jay Sexton (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021).

“Francis Lieber on Institutional Liberty, Secession, and the Modern State,” American Political Thought, (University of Chicago Press) 9:4 (Fall 2020), 513-541.

“The Civil War in Europe,” in The Cambridge History of the American Civil War, Volume 2: Affairs of the State, ed. Aaron Sheehan-Dean (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019).

“Lower South Jeffersonians: States and the Federal Imagination,” in Jeffersonians in Power: Ideas in Practice, eds. Joanne Freeman and Johann Neem (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019).

“How Cotton Wove Together a Secession Coalition.” in Major Problems in American History, eds. Elizabeth Cobbs and Edward J. Blum, 4th edition (Boston: Cengage Learning, 2017), I: 386-393. Excerpted portions of The Fragile Fabric of Union.

“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
  • HIST 3008/5008: Early U.S. Republic (Age of Hamilton and Jackson)
  • HIST 3018/5018: History of the American South to 1900
  • HIST 3081/5081: The Civil War and its Aftermath 
  • HIST 3111J: Historical Research and Writing
  • HIST 5081: The Civil War and its Aftermath
  • HIST 6901: Graduate Colloquium in US History

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 and related fields.