Bruce L. Kinzer earned his BA from Eastern Michigan University in 1969, his MA from the University of Michigan in 1970, and his PhD from the University of Toronto in 1975. After working as a post-doctoral fellow for four years, he taught British history at McMaster University, before moving on the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where he moved through the ranks and served a four-year term as chair of the department of history. In the spring of 1996, he held a visiting fellowship at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University. He joined the faculty at Kenyon in 2000 as chair of the history department, remaining in that position through June 2004.

Areas of Expertise

Modern British history and the British empire


1975 — Doctor of Philosophy from Univ Toronto

1970 — Master of Arts from Univ Michigan Ann Arbor

1969 — Bachelor of Arts from Eastern Michigan University

Courses Recently Taught

How and why did an island nation rise to political and economic predominance over much of the modern world? This course examines the expansion, development and contraction of the British Empire across the globe. We will focus on the circulations of people, power and knowledge that defined the Empire, as well as the interconnections between culture, socio-economics and politics of Britain and the world. Students will explore central themes in the history of British colonial rule: the politics of labor, war and imperial economies, the relationship between British liberalism and the violence and coercion of imperialism, the spread of “popular imperialism” in metropolitan British culture, the diasporas wrought out of British colonialism, and the postcolonial legacies of multiculturalism and imperial nostalgia in contemporary Britain. This counts toward the modern, Europe, and colonial/imperial requirement for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every year.

From its beginnings as a state, Britain has been constituted from an amalgamation of different peoples and identities. This course traces the history of Britain from its reconstitution under the Tudor dynasty to its present incarnation as the United Kingdom. We will follow a series of important, yet seemingly contradictory, questions: how did a state controlled by powerful monarchs generate a strong and lasting parliamentary government? How did centuries of religious conflict and persecution produce a legacy of tolerance? How did the development of liberalism spur both mass enfranchisement and education, at the same time as it endorsed colonial conquest and fostered deep-seated inequities in the modern state? Throughout, we will pay particular attention to the ways in which race, class, and gender figured into the lived experience of Britons – questioning the ever-shifting boundaries of ‘Britishness’ itself. This counts toward the modern and Europe requirement for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every year.

This course focuses on the conceptual frameworks used by historians and on debates within the profession about the nature of the past and the best way to write about it. The seminar prepares students of history to be productive researchers, insightful readers and effective writers. The seminar is required for history majors and should be completed before the senior year. Open only to sophomores and juniors. This counts toward the practice and theory requirement for the major. Prerequisite: history or international studies major or permission of instructor.