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African-American Studies

Kyle G. Volk

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Kyle G. Volk

Associate Professor of History; Director of Undergraduate Studies
LA 260 (406) 243-2989
Office Hours:

Spring 2015: Fridays, 9:15-11:15am and by appointment

Kyle Volk's research and teaching focus on the political, legal, social, and intellectual history of the United States. He is interested in the history of democracy, the problem of dissent and difference in American society, the place of morals in American law and politics, the history of civil rights and civil liberties, and the changing meaning of freedom in American life. His first book, Moral Minorities and the Making of American Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2014), explores the pioneering popular struggles over minority rights that developed out of conflicts over race, religion, and alcohol in nineteenth-century America. Future projects will explore resistance to government in the long Progressive era and the centrality of debates over alcohol to cultural conceptions of liberty in U.S. History. Professor Volk's research has been supported by the American Society for Legal History, the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Antiquarian Society, the Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund, and the Institute for Humane Studies. He has been a member of the History Department since 2007 and is also an affliated faculty member of the African American Studies program. He advises the department's chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (the history honor society) and coordinates the department's Lockridge History Workshop. Volk is also a Prelaw advisor for history students. Professor Volk advises graduate students studying aspects of nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. History that dovetail with his own broad historical interests. His current and former graduate students work on issues ranging from patriotism, public education, racial prejudice, and disability to environmental politics, public health and urban space, and governance in the American West. Professor Volk is accepting both MA and PhD students in the 2015-16 admissions cycle. Please contact him by email if you are interested in working with him as a graduate student.


PhD, University of Chicago, 2008    MA, University of Chicago, 2001 BA, Boston College, 1999

Moral Minorities and the Making of American Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2014)

  • Merle Curti Prize, 2015. (For the best book in American Intellectual History, awarded by the Organization of American Historians.)
  • Frederick Jackson Turner Prize, 2015, honorable mention. (For the best first book in U.S. History, awarded by the Organization of American Historians.)

"The Perils of 'Pure Democracy': Minority Rights, Liquor Politics, & Popular Sovereignty in Antebellum America."  Journal of the Early Republic 29 (Winter 2009), 641-679.

Current Couses

American History I / Honors American History I (Gen. Ed.: American/European and Historical/Cultural) Introduction to Historical Methods The Early American Republic (Approved Writing Course) American Constitutional History Intoxication Nation: Alcohol in American History Moral Conflict & American Democracy (Upper Division Writing Course) Law & Society in Nineteenth-Century America (Upper Division Writing Course) America Divided, 1848-1865  (Upper Division Writing Course) Dissent & American Democracy (Advanced Seminar for Undergraduates and Graduate Students) Readings in Early American History (Graduate Course) The American State (Graduate Course) Law, Democracy, & Capitalism in US History (Graduate Course) Graduate Research Seminar in History (Graduate Course)

University of Montana

African-American Studies Program

Tobin Miller Shearer, Director

Phone: (406) 243-6225

32 Campus Drive | Missoula, MT 59812