David Prior

Assistant Professor

Photo: David Prior

Email: dmprior@unm.edu
Office: Mesa Vista Hall 1078


B.A. Hamilton College
M.A. University of South Carolina
Ph.D University of South Carolina

Research Interests:

Nineteenth Century United States, Civil War and Reconstruction, Nations and Nationalism, Atlantic and International History


Dr. David Prior’s book project, Between Freedom and Progress: The Lost World of Reconstruction’s Public, examines how Americans thought nationally and globally in the wake of the Civil War.  It contends that while struggles in and about the South fired the political conflicts that defined Reconstruction, Republicans and Democrats understood themselves as acting within much larger historical contexts.  By exploring when and why Reconstruction’s partisans expressed concern with disparate places and events, his manuscript reconsiders the intellectual and political culture of the Civil War-era United States.  He has published research articles on American interest and involvement in the 1866 Cretan Insurrection against the Ottoman Empire (Journal of Social History) and on northern Republican attempts to reconstruct Mormon society in the Utah Territory (Civil War History), the latter of which won awards from the Western History Association and the Utah State Historical Society.  He has also published a historiographical and conceptual essay about the future of Atlantic history (History Compass).  His research on the exploration of Africa and the politics of race in the United States has received support (jointly) from the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the Mellon Foundation.  He recently had the privilege to organize, moderate, an edit two discussion with the Journal of the Civil War Era and served in a similar capacity for the Journal of American History’s forthcoming Interchange on the History of Capitalism.  His edited collection, Reconstruction in a Globalizing World, is forthcoming with Fordham University Press’s series, “Reconstructing America.”  The same volume contains his essay, “Reconstruction: from Transatlantic Polyseme to Historiographical Quandary.” Dr. Prior also edits H-Slavery and H-Nationalism, two of the larger online academic forum nested within H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online.  This work has involved scholarly interviews, blog editing, review editing, and extensive collaboration with scholars of all ranks from across the globe.  He has also been actively involved in the University of New Mexico’s AHA-Mellon funded Career Diversity initiative, which has included being interviewed by the Chronicle of Higher Education about his recent graduate course on national identity in the United States.

Recent/Select Publications:

Editor, Reconstruction in a Globalizing World (New York: Fordham University Press, 2018). http://fordhampress.com/index.php/reconstruction-in-a-gobaizing-word-paperback.html

“Introduction,” in Reconstruction in a Globalizing World, ed., David Prior (New York: Fordham University Press, 2018), 1-20

 “Reconstruction, from Transatlantic Polyseme to Historiographical Quandary,” in Reconstruction in a Globalizing World, ed. David Prior (New York: Fordham University Press, 2018), 172-208

 Moderator and editor, “Reconstruction in Public History and Memory at the Sesquicentennial: A Roundtable Discussion,” Journal of the Civil War Era, Spring 2017 and online, open access at: http://journalofthecivilwarera.org/forum-the-future-of-reconstruction-studies/reconstruction-in-public-history-and-memory-sesquicentennial-roundtable/

 Moderator and editor, “Teaching the American Civil War Era in Global Context,” Journal of the Civil War Era 5:1 (March 2015): 97-125. DOI: 10.1353/cwe.2015.0014 http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/cwe/summary/v005/5.1.prior.html

 Moderator and editor, “Interchange: The History of Capitalism,” Journal of American History, (September 2014). https://academic.oup.com/jah/article/101/2/503/678964/Interchange-The-History-of-Capitalism

“After the Revolution: An Alternative Future for Atlantic History,” History Compass 12:3 (March 2014): 300-309

 “Civilization, Republic, Nation: Contested Keywords, Northern Republicans, and the Forgotten Reconstruction of Mormon Utah,” Civil War History 56:3 (September 2010): 281-308

 “’Crete the Opening Wedge’: Nationalism and International Affairs in Postbellum America,” Journal of Social History 42:3 (June 2009): 861-887


Teaching Allocation Grant, Center for Teaching Excellence, UNM, 2015

LCP-HSP Mellon Research Fellowship, 2011

Michael P. Malone Article Award, Western History Association, 2011

Leroy S. Axland Best Utah history Article award, 2011

Graduate School Fellow, University of South Carolina, 2004-2010


  • Civil War and Reconstruction
  • The American Civil War in Global Context
  • U.S. History to 1877
  • U.S. History since 1877
  • Nations and Nationalism
  • National Identity and the U.S.
  • Slavery and Abolition in the U.S.
  • Slavery, Memory, Film