History and Government Faculty


Adjunct Faculty


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Allan W. Austin, Ph.D. Professor of History

Allan W. Austin, Ph.D.
Professor of History
E-mail: aaustin@misericordia.edu
Phone: 570-674-6793

B.A., M.A., Bowling Green State University
Ph.D., University of Cincinnati

Classes taught: Post-1945 United States History, Film and History, Race and Graphic Narrative in United States History, Seminar on History (Twentieth-Century United States Historiography), Research Seminar, National Security, Immigration and American Ethnic History, Modern United States History through Popular Culture, United States History survey


Allan Austin is an immigration historian primarily interested in investigating the contested meanings of race and American identity, especially in the 20th-century United States. He has explored these issues in his books, From Concentration Camp to Campus: Japanese American Students and World War II (University of Illinois Press, 2004) and Quaker Brotherhood: Interracial Activism and the American Friends Service Committee, 1917-1950, as well as in articles in various scholarly journals and anthologies. Dr. Austin has also published Asian American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia (M.E. Sharpe, 2010, with Huping Ling) and Space and Time: Essays on Visions of History in Science Fiction and Fantasy Television (McFarland, 2010, with David Wright Jr.).

Dr. Austin received the Louis and Barbara Alesi Excellence in Scholarship Award in 2006 and 2013, and he continues to pursue a number of research interests. He is currently researching and writing All New, All Different?: A Graphic History of Race and the American Super Hero, which examines comic books and other forms of superhero popular culture in exploring how Americans have struggled in the past and continue to wrestle today with vexed issues of race, ethnicity, and multiculturalism.

The recipient of the Max and Tillie Rosenn Excellence in Teaching Award in 2008 and 2014, Dr. Austin teaches a variety of courses at Misericordia, with an emphasis on hands-on learning at all levels. Dr. Austin has encouraged students to develop historical skills through on-site experiences in Service Learning courses at Misericordia. He has also received several grants that allowed undergraduates to serve as research assistants on his AFSC project, providing important opportunities for students to enhance their research skills.

Dr. Austin's past work as Book Review Editor for the Journal of American Ethnic History also opened additional opportunities for students to get first-hand experience in the field of United States history.


Dr. Austin's office is located at 308 Mercy Hall.

For Dr. Austin's complete CV, click here.


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Jennifer M. Black, Ph.D. Assistant Professor

Jennifer M. Black, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
E-mail: jblack2@misericordia.edu
Phone: 570-674-1491


B.A., M.A., Western Michigan University
Ph.D., University of Southern California

Classes taught: US History I & II, American Visual Culture, University Writing Seminar, History of the Gilded Age & Progressive Era, US Women's History, Intro to Public History, Public History Practicum, Witchcraft in the Early Modern World, American Capitalism & the Global Economy, Turning Points in American History


Jennifer Black is a historian of visual and material culture, with a particular specialty on the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the United States. She holds a PhD in American History and Visual Studies from the University of Southern California, as well as an MA in Public History and a BA in Art History. Her research examines ways in which people interact with images and objects, and the power of visual and material culture to influence trends in politics, the law, and society. Dr. Black's teaching interests include the Histories of Popular and Visual Culture, Public History, Film as History, Advertising and Consumption, American Women's History, Icons and Trademarks, Intellectual Property and Forgery, and the History of Citizenship and Belonging in the United States, with a particular focus on the visual exclusion of particular groups.

Dr. Black also has several years' experience working as a public historian, including work for large and small public institutions such as the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. Her work as a historical consultant has included clients such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Cengage Learning, Inc. Dr. Black is the author of several articles on material culture, visual culture, and public history, as well as the book, Machines that Made History: Landmarks in Mechanical Engineering (ASME Press, 2014), and the online exhibits at mulocalhistoryprojects.org

Dr. Black is currently working on a book manuscript, Branding Trust, which examines the impact of trademark-centered advertising in the US by looking at material culture use and practices in the nineteenth century.


Dr. Black's office is located at 339 Mercy Hall.

For more information, including CV, click here.


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Brian F. Carso

Brian F. Carso, Jr., J.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History, Pre-law Program Director, and Director of the Honors Program
E-mail: bcarso@misericordia.edu
Phone: 570-674-6395


B.A., M.A., University of Rochester
J.D., SUNY Buffalo School of Law
Ph.D., Boston University

Classes taught: The American Founding, 1620-1789, The Presidency, The Civil War, The American West, Constitutional Law I & II, Introduction to American Law/ The Trial in American Life, U.S. History survey


Brian Carso is interested in how political, intellectual, and legal ideas developed throughout the American experience, and in how these ideas came to be expressed in broadly accessible political discourse and popular American culture. In his book, "Whom Can We Trust Now?": The Meaning of Treason in the United States, from the Revolution through the Civil War (Lexington Books, 2006), Dr. Carso examines notions of loyalty and allegiance in a democratic republic and their legal manifestation in the law of treason. While this necessarily involves criminal statutes and court cases, Dr. Carso is interested not only in how treason is conceived by lawyers and judges within the courthouse, but also in how treason is perceived outside the courthouse by citizens in all walks of life. Accordingly, he studies treason not only as it appears in legal doctrine but also in literature, sermons, political cartoons, orations, editorials, and artwork.

Dr. Carso's interests spread throughout the American experience and incorporate legal, intellectual, political, and cultural history. He is currently working on two projects: one concerns espionage during the American Revolution (a natural offshoot of his treason research), while another involves 20th century war photography. Dr. Carso is also keenly interested in American government and politics, from the first partisan presidential election of 1796 through today's political campaigns.

In addition to teaching classes in history, Dr. Carso directs MU's Pre-law program for those students interested in a career in law, government, or a related field. Dr. Carso brings a wealth of legal and governmental experience to MU that he is happy to share with his students. He has worked as an attorney at a large New York law firm, as well as running his own private practice, and he is admitted to the bar in the State of New York and before the United States Supreme Court. In addition, he has been twice elected to public office and most recently served in the administration of former New York Governor George Pataki.

Dr. Carso serves Director of Misericordia University's Honors Program, an interdisciplinary learning community based in a common sequence of enriched and intensified core curriculum courses. For more information about Misericordia University's Honors program click here.


Dr. Carso's office is located at 368 Mercy Hall.

For Dr. Carso's complete CV, click here.


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Thomas Hajkowski, Ph.D. Associate Professor

Thomas Hajkowski, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
E-mail: thajkowski@misericordia.edu
Phone: 570 674-8083


B.A., Seton Hall University
M.A., Villanova University
Ph.D., Northwestern University

Classes taught: Western Civilization I and II, History of Early-Modern England, History of Modern Britain, History of Modern Latin America, History of Nazi Germany, Cultural Geography


Thomas Hajkowski is an historian of twentieth-century Britain whose research interests lie at the intersection of media history, nationalism and national identity, and imperialism. His book manuscript, The BBC and National Identity in Britain, currently under contract with Manchester University press, argues that before the loss of its monopoly in 1954, the British Broadcasting Corporation was the most important arena in British society where regional cultures interacted with a normative English culture, helping to create the hybrid dual identities of contemporary Britain. The BBC tried to unite people across the United Kingdom into a community of British listeners, regardless of ethnicity. Yet, in its policies and programs, the BBC also created spaces for the expression of alternative national identities in Britain. Using the "four nations" approach to British history, The BBC and National Identity in Britain explores the changing contours of modern representations of Britishness. Dr. Hajkowski's research continues to be focused on the relationship between media and national identity, and he is beginning a research project that explores how the British mass media interpreted and represented decolonization. This project will provide valuable insights into the impact of decline on British identity and culture and the relationship between the mass media and the British government in the twentieth century.

Dr. Hajkowski has a broad range of teaching interests. In his classes, Dr. Hajkowski prioritizes active learning and student engagement with primary source materials. In addition to knowing what happened, Dr. Hajkowski tries to instill in his students an understanding of what historians do and why history matters.



Dr. Hajkowski's office is located at 302 Mercy Hall.

For Dr. Hajkowski's complete CV, click here.


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Rebecca Padot, Ph.D
Rebecca Padot
Assistant Professor
E-mail: rpadot@misericordia.edu
Phone: 570-674-8160


M.A., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
M.G.A./M.P.A., Fels Institute of Government, University of Pennsylvania


Classes Taught: American National Government, Introduction to Public Policy and Public Administration, Foster Care Administration Effectiveness, Urban Policy: Disadvantaged Youth, Introduction to Homeland Security, Public Management and Leadership


Dr. Rebecca Padot is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Government and also teaches in the Government, Law, and National Security Program. She received all three of her Ivy League graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D. in Political Science, M.G.A./M.P.A. at the Fels Institute of Government and an M.A. in Political Science). She also currently holds the title of Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and has held the titles of Bradley Fellow, Earhart Fellow, Fox Distinguished Graduate Fellow, Mumford Fellow, and PRRUCS Fellow.

In recent years, Dr. Padot traveled twice to The White House at the request of a Director of a White House Office to present her research to him on non-profits and national public policy.

Routledge Press released Dr. Padot’s work in the form of a book, The Politics of Foster Care Administration in the United States (2015), and described it as “using examples from foster care systems in the states of Delaware, Michigan, New York, and Rhode Island, Rebecca Padot eloquently combines a rigorous methodology and theory work to expose the conditions under which foster care outcomes can be improved.” Working as a grant maker for The Pew Charitable Trusts, Dr. Padot was able to champion philanthropic performance measurement and Return on Investment community service. Her community service in practice has taken her to “foster” and mentor three inner-city siblings for two decades, as well as, serve as a volunteer social scientist with the non-profit her husband founded serving at-risk youth. Having conducted over 200 speaking appearances for organizations on topics ranging from leadership to philanthropy/community service, she has also hosted tv, radio, and new media shows for a combined two decades. Through these outlets, she has conducted over 3000 “elite interviews” (CEOs, politicians, celebrities) for major markets (New York, Washington DC and Philadelphia) and her award-winning national broadcast (satellite television).

Serving as the text for her American National Government class, Dr. Padot worked as a research and writing assistant on James Q. Wilson and John J. DiIulio Jr.’s Houghton Mifflin book American Government and she created the CQ Press college instructor’s manual for the public administration textbook, The Politics of the Administrative Process, by Donald F. Kettl and James Fesler. At the University of Pennsylvania, she was nominated for the Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching by Graduate Students.

Following the wisdom of our Founding Father James Madison, Dr. Padot also espouses the political theorist’s message: “The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty;” in addition to, the belief in the words of a contemporary political scientist who has written extensively about improving government systems and assisting the poor, NYU Politics Professor Lawrence Mead: “I think political science should be what the ancients intended – a master science that helps government improve the human condition.”


Dr. Padot’s office is located at 389 Mercy Hall.



Christopher Stevens, Ph.D. Assistant Professor

Christopher Stevens, Ph.D
Associate Professor and Department Chair

Director, Government Law, and National Security Program
E-mail: cstevens@misericordia.edu
Phone: 570-674-1446


Ph.D., Brandeis University

Classes taught: Global Politics, The U.S. National Security System, U.S. National Security Issues, War in World Politics, and Russia and the Near Abroad


Dr. Christopher A. Stevens is an associate professor in the Department of History and Government and teaches in the Government, Law, and National Security program. Dr. Stevens specializes in U.S. national security, international relations, and the politics of the former Soviet Union. He arrived at Misericordia University in the Fall 2012 after teaching at the College of the Holy Cross, the University of Vermont, and the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Dr. Stevens earned his Ph.D. in Politics from Brandeis University, and is currently working on a manuscript that explores Russia's strategic relations with other republics of the former Soviet Union. His research has taken him all over the former USSR, including Belarus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Russia, and Ukraine. His work has been supported with grants from the International Research and Exchanges Board, the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, and the American Political Science Association.


Dr. Stevens is the author of "Identity Politics and Nuclear Disarmament: The Case of Ukraine," which was published in the Nonproliferation Review (March 2008), and "The Libyan Debate: Coercive Diplomacy Reconsidered" (Diplomacy and Statecraft, 28, 2, 2017)


Dr. Stevens' office is located at 377 Mercy Hall.

For Dr. Stevens' complete CV, click here.


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R. Lucas Williams, Ph.D.

Luke Williams

Assistant Professor
Email: rwilliams1@misericordia.edu
Phone: 570-674-3047


B.A. History and Political Science, University of Alabama at Birmingham M.A., Ph.D. University of Houston

Classes taught: American National Government, State and Local Government, Homeland Security System



Dr. Williams is a political scientist studying state and local government in the American context. His doctoral work focuses on legislative behavior in the 101 chambers across the U.S. states and Washington D.C. After completing his Ph.D. at the University of Houston, he held a research position with the Local Elections in America Project at Rice University where he collected and analyzed original data regarding mayoral elections. His research has appeared in The Journal of Politics, American Politics Research, and Public Choice. In his most recent research, he examines how party organizations bolster their power at the local level.


Dr. Williams' office is located at 375 Mercy Hall.

For Dr. Williams' complete CV, click here.


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David Wright

David Wright, Ph.D.
Professor of History
E-mail: dwright@misericordia.edu
Phone: 570-674-6305


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1991
M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1979
B.A., Kenyon College, History, 1973


Classes Taught: History of Western Civilization I and II, Contemporary Europe, Modern French History, Modern European Cultural Movements, History Seminar (Modern European Intellectual History), Research Seminar, History of Rock and Roll.

Dr. Wright's research interests include Modern French History and Contemporary Popular Culture. In recent years, he has presented conference papers and published work on detective fiction, science fiction and fantasy novels and television, and rock music. He was co-editor and contributor to Space and Time: Essays on Visions of History in Science Fiction and Fantasy Television (McFarland, 2010). He has an article entitled “James Church’s A Corpse in the Koryo and his Inspector O Series: A Noir/Spy Thriller Hybrid set in North Korea” forthcoming in Clues: A Journal of Detection. Also, Dr. Wright has a chapter entitled “’Now won't you lend your hand?’ – Anatomy and Legacy of the Concert for Bangladesh,” forthcoming in Rock for Change, Nick Baxter-Moore and Peter Grant, eds. (Lexington, 2020). He is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Conveying Lived Experience through Rock and Pop Music Lyrics.

Dr. Wright serves as the chair of the Detective Fiction area of the Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association.

Dr. Wright's office is located at 333 Mercy Hall.


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Irene Wisnieski, Adjunct Faculty

Irene Wisnieski
Adjunct Faculty
E-mail: iwisnies@misericordia.edu


M.A., Marquette University
B.A., Misericordia University

Classes Taught: U.S. History to 1865, U.S. History since 1865, American National Government, Global Politics


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Yanqiu Zheng, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
E-mail: yzheng@misericordia.edu
Phone: 570-674-8159


B.A/M.A., Peking University (China)

M.A/M.S., Indiana University Bloomington

Ph.D., Northwestern University


Classes taught: University Writing Seminar, Introduction to World History; Seminars in Modern East Asia, and U.S.-China relations from Opium to Trump.


Yanqiu Zheng is a historian of modern china with broad teaching and research interests in East Asian and international history. Although his first name is often misspelled as "Yanqui" and mispronounced as "Yankee" (Yanqui is indeed the Spanish equivalent), Dr. Zheng is a proud southerner from China's lower Yangzi delta. Going to college 700 miles away from home in north China and later coming to study and work in the Midwest, Arizona, and Pennsylvania, he enjoys the peripatetic journey in life.

Besides teaching, Dr. Zheng is also engaged in the revision of his first book manuscript, tentatively titled "In Search of Admiration and Respect: Chinese Cultural Diplomacy in the United States, 1875-1975". It documents the efforts by Chinese intellectual and political elites in asserting sovereign definitions of China's refinement and achievements during the time of the country's prolonged sociopolitical fragmentation. He is also developing another project on the changing meanings of Chinese food amid the country's fundamental transformations in the twentieth century. This will result in new scholarship and courses, both delicious hopefully.


For more information about Dr. Zheng's work, including the CV, click here.


Dr. Zheng's office is located at 322 Mercy Hall.

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