K. Stephen Prince
Professor and Undergraduate Program Director
CONTACT information and cv
Office: SOC 211
Ph.D., Yale University, 2010
I am a historian of the nineteenth and twentieth century United States, with a focus on the culture, society, and politics of the U.S. South. I offer undergraduate courses on historical methodology, southern history, the history of Tampa, the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and Race in U.S. History. I offer graduate seminars on the South, African-American history, historical memory, and U.S. history from the Civil War to the 1920s. I am happy to work with graduate students interested in the South, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, cultural history, race and racism, African-American history, historical memory, as well as the histories of Tampa and Florida.
My most recent book, The Ballad of Robert Charles: Searching for the New Orleans Riot (University of North Carolina Press, 2021), explores the New Orleans race riot of July 1900. When a black man named Robert Charles killed several white police officers, white residents of New Orleans sought revenge. Over several days of rioting, they injured dozens of African Americans and killed at least five. The riot quickly became a national and international story, as commentators attempted to shape popular understandings of events in New Orleans. Because so little was known about Robert Charles prior to July 1900, he proved an ideal vessel for larger conversations about race, citizenship, power, and violence. For this reason, the Robert Charles riot offers historians an important vantage from which to consider both the intellectual work of turn-of-the-century white supremacy and African American strategies of cultural resistance. More generally, the story presents an extraordinary canvas on which to study the possibilities and limits of the historical imagination. Fellowships from the Historic New Orleans Collection and the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South (Tulane University) have funded this research. More information about this work is available here.
The Ballad of Robert Charles was awarded the President’s Book Award from the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (SHGAPE) as well as the Leila and Kemper Williams Prize, for the best book in Louisiana History, from the Louisiana Historical Association. It was also a finalist for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) Book Prize.
In June 2021, I delivered a virtual talk on The Ballad of Robert Charles as part of a lecture series at the Louisiana State Museum. You can access a recording of that presentation here.
My previous book, Stories of the South: Race and the Reconstruction of Southern Identity, 1865-1915 (University of North Carolina Press, 2014), offers a reconceptualization of the period between the end of the Civil War and the rise of Jim Crow segregation, centered on the changing visions of the South at play in U.S. culture. Stories of the South uses sources drawn from the period’s print, visual, and performance culture to analyze the ways in which southern identity was reconfigured in the wake of the Civil War. More than this, it argues for the centrality of southern identity to the rise and fall of racial democracy in the South. The character of the South – as negotiated by northerners and southerners of both races – may well have been the central question of the post-war era. Stories of the South was selected as sole runner-up for the 2015 Book Prize of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History. More information about Stories of the South is accessible here.
In February 2015, I delivered a talk on Stories of the South as part of the University of South Florida Humanities Institute's "From Civil War to Civil Rights" lecture series. You can access it here.
I am also the author of Radical Reconstruction: A Brief History with Documents, published by Bedford-St. Martin's as part of the Bedford Series in History and Culture in 2015. More information about this text is available here.