History Department Faculty
Jeffrey W. Myers Ph.D.
Professor of History
At the Iowa City Yacht Club, Dr. Jeffrey Myers, Professor and Chair of History at Avila University, waited with guitar in hand to sit in with the Blue Tunas, the house blues band—a respite from graduate school and an opportunity to experience the terror and exhilaration of live music. However, it is blues in a larger theoretical sense that also relates to Dr. Myers. A vital element of the blues is call and response, something that has become a centerpiece of Myers’s later research in a completely different context.
Dr. Myers, a preeminent Holocaust scholar and historian of German history, was called to study the Holocaust after hearing a survivor bear witness. His response has come via teaching and scholarship to preserve the memory of and advocate for victims of this dark time in history.
Myers received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Iowa. He then studied as a research fellow at the University of Freiburg and the Institute for European History in Mainz. During these four years, Myers honed his knowledge of the language, culture, and history of Germany and witnessed history in the making with the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification.
At Avila University, Myers teaches German history, world history, and co-teaches the Holocaust in History and on Stage, an interdisciplinary course that explores the intersection of history and theatre. Myers has served as a Blue Ribbon Judge for the White Rose Essay Contest sponsored by the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, an organization that recently named him to its Board of Governors. Dr. Myers and co-author Dr. Charlene Gould from theatre have written an article exploring representation in Holocaust theatre, which will be published in a forthcoming anthology.
Kelly L. Watson Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
In 2010, Dr. Watson earned her PhD from Bowling Green State University in American Culture Studies with a primary focus in early American history and a secondary specialization in Latin American history. She also earned graduate certificates in both Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies. She possesses an MA from Bowling Green State University in American Culture Studies and a BA from the University of Maryland Baltimore County with a double major in Ancient Studies and American Studies.
Dr. Watson is currently completing her first book, (tentatively titled) Conquering Cannibals: Gender and Empire in North America, 1492-1763, which will be published by New York University Press in 2014. Her research focuses on the development and maintenance of European imperial power in North America. She examines the ways in which the discourse of cannibalism shaped European views on Indigenous Americans and thus impacted the progress of empire. More generally, Dr. Watson’s research interests include: early American history, imperialism and colonialism, Atlantic studies, the history of sexuality, women’s history, and the history of race and ethnicity.
Prior to her position at Avila, Dr. Watson was a Visiting Assistant Professor of History and Gender & Women’s Studies at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. At Avila, Dr. Watson teaches a range of courses focused on American history, Latin American history, cultural studies, as well as Gender and Women’s Studies.