Brian Steele. Associate Professor
(205) 934-5487
Heritage Hall 356

Research and Teaching Interests: American intellectual and cultural history, American Revolution and early republic, historiography, nationalism, gender

Office Hours: M/W 12:15 - 1:45; and by appointment

  • BA, University of Tulsa
  • MA, University of Tulsa
  • PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2003

Brian Steele specializes in American intellectual and political history with a particular emphasis on the American Revolution and Early American Republic. His book Thomas Jefferson and American Nationhood (Cambridge, 2012) was a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize and was named a 2012 notable title by the Society for US Intellectual History.

Steele teaches a wide variety of courses on the graduate and undergraduate level, including Writing and Ratification of the Constitution, the American Revolution, and Capitalism and Democracy in the Early American Republic, as well as special seminars on Lincoln and Jefferson. He loves to write and teach about questions he finds interesting (which quite often have something to do with what you might think of broadly as American Studies), so you might find him teaching courses that range widely across chronology (like his course on the Idea of America) and territory (like his upcoming honors seminar on Citizenship, Statelessness, and Human Rights in the Modern World). All of his courses consider the intersections of politics, culture, and thought, and encourage students to think about the cultural productions of an era (novels, poetry, film) as historical artifacts that offer us insight about meaning and the human condition in a particular time and place.

  • Lincoln in American History and Memory

Lincoln in American History and Memory - Brian Steele from UAB College of Arts and Sciences on Vimeo.

  • Religion in Early America
  • George Washington and the New Nation
  • Nations and Nationalism
  • American Revolution
  • Colonial (Mostly British) America
  • Antebellum America
  • The Idea of America (and its Complicated Relationship with the United States)
  • Jefferson and the American Enlightenment
  • Federalists vs. AntiFederalists: The Writing and Ratification of the US Constitution

Book Chapters:
  • "'General Washington Did Not Harbor One Principle of Federalism': Thomas Jefferson Remembers George Washington," in Sons of the Father: George Washington & His Protégés, Robert M. S. McDonald, ed. (University of Virginia Press, 2013), 72-98.
  • "Jefferson's Legacy: The Nation as Interpretative Community," in The Blackwell Companion to Thomas Jefferson, Francis D. Cogliano, ed. (Blackwell, 2012), 526-50.

  • "Inventing Un-America," Journal of American Studies 47 (November 2013): 881-902.
  • "Thomas Jefferson's Gender Frontier," Journal of American History 95 (June 2008): 17-42.

Thomas Jefferson and American Nationhood named:

  • Named "Outstanding Teacher in the University Honors Program" by honors students, 2014
  • Finalist for 2013 George Washington Book Prize, C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and George Washington's Mount Vernon
  • Notable Title in American Intellectual History by Society for US Intellectual History
  • University Honors Program Coffeehouse