Talking History: Staff

Host and Interviewer

Bryan Le Beau

Bryan Le Beau is Professor of History and Dean of College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He earned his Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from New York University in 1983.

Le Beau’s research and teaching interests are United States cultural and religious history. He has published widely on those subjects, including six books, six edited collections, and numerous articles, chapters, and essays. His books include: Food, Society, and Environment (2003, Prentice Hall), Currier and Ives: America Imagined (2001, Smithsonian Institution Press), Religion in America to 1865 (2000, Edinburgh University Press and New York University Press), The Story of the Salem Witch Trials (1998, Prentice Hall), and Jonathan Dickinson and the Formative Years of American Presbyterianism (1997, University of Kentucky Press).


Eileen Dugan

Eileen Dugan grew up in Houston, Texas. She received her BS in History from Texas Tech University and her MA and Ph.D. in Reformation History from Ohio State University. As a graduate student, Dugan was a Summer Fellow at the Center for Reformation Research Institute and a Fulbright Scholar to Germany.

After serving as Visiting Assistant Professor at Miami University (Ohio) for one year, Dugan came to Creighton in 1988. She has taught a wide range of courses, including those on the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Crusades, the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire, the history of Western Science, Tudor and Stuart England, and biography. Besides receiving several college grants for summer research and course development, Dugan was a Fellow to the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute at Duke University in 1995. Her research is primarily concerned with the development of religious ideals and societal attitudes in the early modern era.

John Herron

John Herron is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. A native of Montana, he earned his Ph.D in history at the University of New Mexico. He an American social historian with a research and teaching emphasis in politics, a forthcoming book on environmental science, and is co-author of Human/Nature: Biology, Culture, and Environmental History.

James H. Madison

James H. Madison is the Thomas and Kathryn Miller Professor of History and former chair of the Department of History, Indiana University, Bloomington. Among his publications are The Indiana Way: A State History and Eli Lilly: A Life. His new book, A Lynching in the Heartland: Race and Memory in America, was published by St. Martin’s Press in fall, 2001.

At Indiana University Bloomington, Jim Madison teaches the freshman introductory course in United States history, a course in Indiana history, and two courses on World War II. In 1994, the University awarded Professor Madison its Sylvia E. Bowman Distinguished Teaching Award. He has also taught, as a Fulbright Professor, at Hiroshima University, Japan, and at the University of Kent, Canterbury, England. In 2001 the Organization of American Historians named Professor Madison a Distinguished Lecturer. He is the recipient also of the Indiana Historical Society’s Hoosier Historian Award and has been a fellow at Harvard University, the Newberry Library, and the Huntington Library.

Fred Nielsen

Fred Nielsen has been a member of the history department at the University of Nebraska at Omaha since 1992. He earned his M.Phil. and Ph.D. at the University of Kansas. He specializes in the nineteenth and twentieth century U.S., especially its cultural, intellectual, and environmental history. He has offered a wide variety of courses at UNO, including American Cultural and Intellectual history, American Environmental History, The Civil War and Reconstruction, The United States since 1945, America in the Sixties, and U.S. History Viewed Right and Left.

Nielsen is a member of the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the American Studies Association, the American Society for Environmental History, and the Thoreau Society. He is also a member of the Nebraska Humanities Council’s Speakers’ Bureau and the executive board of the Nebraska State Council for the Social Studies. He has served on several advisory groups for the Omaha Public Schools, including one that recently reviewed the K-12 social studies curriculum. His works in progress include Doubters in the Land of Plenty, an intellectual and environmental history of the limits to growth movement in the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and Emily, his school-age daughter.

Linna Place

Linna Place is a Research Associate Professor of History at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and directs the external competitive fellowship application process at UMKC. She earned her Master’s degree in American Folklife at Cooperstown Graduate Programs, a program that prepares students to work as professionals in historical agencies and institutions.  She earned her Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of Kansas in 1989.

Her teaching and research interests include material culture, American social and cultural history, and museum studies.  She has published in the area of social gerontology as well as curatorial essays in the field of American folk art.  In addition to teaching, she continues to work as an educational and programming consultant with museums.

Production Staff

Fiona Beattie – Producer

Fiona Beattie was born in Belper, Derbyshire in the United Kingdom. She attended the University of Glamorgan in Pontypridd, Wales, and holds an Honorary Ph.D. from the University of Udmurt, Izhevsk, Russia. She has lived and worked in Trondheim, Norway, Edinburgh, Scotland, Cardiff, Wales, and London, England and has traveled extensively throughout Europe–once on a tandem bicycle. She moved to the United States in 1988.

Fiona holds a B.A. in History and minor in Communication Studies from the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Since working for Talking History she has developed a keen interest in recording audio of historical sound. Fiona is also interested in the machines of the industrial revolution, particularly those in woolen and cotton mills.

Alex Smith – Radio Engineer

Alex Smith was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He grew up in Kansas City, attended the University of Kansas and studied music composition at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In 2002, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications Studies from UMKC.

Alex has led, written music for, and played with many rock and jazz bands in Kansas City. Currently, he is a member of A. Graham and the Moment Band. During 2002-2003, he worked as a volunteer for AmeriCorps in St. Louis, tutoring literacy for elementary school students. He is also the radio engineer for the nationally-distributed literature show New Letters on the Air.

Alex lives in Kansas City, Missouri.