Dr. Trent Brown


Dr. Brown is professor of American Studies. His research focuses on the cultural history of the twentieth-century United States, particularly race and gender in the recent South.

He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago, an M.A. in history from the University of Iowa, an M.A. in English from the University of Virginia, and a B.A. with majors in history and English from the University of Mississippi. Before coming to Missouri S&T, Brown was assistant professor of history at James Madison University, where he taught the history of the 20th-century South and the recent United States.

Brown's first book, White Masculinity in the Recent South, was published in 2008 by the Louisiana State University Press. As the LSU Spring 2008 Catalog states, "In White Masculinity in the Recent South, thirteen scholars of history, literature, film, and environmental studies examine modern white masculinity, including such stereotypes as the good old boy, the redneck, and the southern gentleman. ... [This volume] seeks to do what no other single work has done: to explore the ways in which white southern manhood has been experienced and represented since World War II. ... [Essay] topics include neo-Confederates, the novels of William Faulkner, gay southern men, football coaching, deer hunting, church camps, college fraternities, and white men's responses to the civil rights movement."

His second book, One Homogeneous People: Narratives of White Southern Identity, 1890-1920, was published in 2010 by the University of Tennessee Press. The book argues that in political oratory, fiction, historiography, literary criticism, and the built environment, the South at the turn of the twentieth century was conceived as a well-ordered household whose integrity proceeded from natural, racialized imperatives. White southerners' explanations of themselves and their society as a family proceeded from two fundamental assumptions: that racial difference existed and mattered, and that it was essential to maintain this difference to preserve order from disorder. Narratives of white southern identity both grew out of and affirmed most white southerners' commitment to white supremacy and black oppression. Their stories were built of potent and intertwined narratives of race and gender; broadly shared late-Victorian notions of domesticity made white southerners' cautionary tales about racial danger persuasive and effective.

Brown's third book is Ed King's Mississippi: Behind the Scenes of Freedom Summer (University Press of Mississippi, 2014). The book features over forty previously unpublished photographs taken by Rev. Ed King in Greenwood, Philadelphia, and Jackson, Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1964. King was chaplain at historically-black Tougaloo College and a founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. The book pairs King's photographs with material from his unpublished writings and features a lengthy biographical essay on this underappreciated civil rights era figure.

Brown's other publications include:

  • "What Makes a 'Newcomb Girl'?: Student Ideals in the Progressive Era." In Susan Tucker and Beth Willinger, ed., Newcomb College, 1886- 2006: Higher Education of Women in New Orleans. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2012: 80-96.
  • "'Mississippi's Giant House Party': Being White at the Neshoba County Fair." Southern Cultures 8 (Summer, 2002): 38-55.
  • Foreword, Men Working, by John Faulkner. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1996. vii-xxv.

Brown is the editor of the series Civil Rights in Mississippi, forthcoming from the University Press of Mississippi. The first title in the series, Hodding Carter Jr.'s So the Heffners Left McComb, will be published in 2016.

Brown is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Mississippi History. He is a contributing editor for the forthcoming Mississippi Encyclopedia and has written for that publication as well as the New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. At Missouri S&T, Watts teaches  the American literature survey and upper-division courses on American film and on the culture and literature of the American South.