Brian D. McKnight

Brian McKnightBrian D. McKnight 

Professor of History
Founding Director, Center for Appalachian Studies

Phone:  276.376.4574
Office: Zehmer 220


  • Ph.D., Mississippi State University, 2003
  • M.A., East Tennessee State University, 1999
  • B.A., The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, 1997

Courses Taught

  • The Roles of Loyalty and Disloyalty in the American Story
  • Local/Appalachian History (cross-listed as Appalachian Studies)
  • Hillbillyland (cross-listed as Appalachian Studies)
  • The Cold War
  • War and Memory in America
  • Modern East Asia
  • American Military History
  • The Civil War in Film
  • Beyond Juneteenth:  White and Black in Post Civil War Texas to 1870 (graduate, independent study)
  • 19th Century U.S./Latin American Relations (independent study)
  • The Underbelly of the Civil War (independent study)
  • Historical Research and Writing
  • The Young Republic, 1789-1837
  • The American South
  • Mid-Nineteenth Century American History (graduate)
  • Civil War and Reconstruction
  • The History of the American Presidency (independent study)
  • Appalachia’s Civil War (graduate)
  • The National Republic, 1787-1848
  • Media Made Dixie:  The South vs. the Rest of America (cross-listed as Honors)
  • Oral History Seminar:  Coal Towns of Southwestern Virginia (cross-listed as Appalachian Studies)
  • America and the McWorld
  • American History Survey I and II
  • Western Civilization Survey I and II
  • World Civilization Survey I and II

Research Interests

The first time Dr. McKnight was referred to as a military historian rather than a Civil War historian or southern historian, he recoiled.  Over time, however, he came to realize that although he did not study military history in the traditional sense, his interests did focus on important military themes.  Over the years, he has learned to embrace the idea of being a military historian and has worked very hard to understand various elements of military extremism from guerrilla warfare to the prisoner of war experience.  The overriding theme throughout his career has always been and continues to be, the myriad shades and fluctuating nature of loyalty.

Professional Interests

Dr. McKnight has a fervent interest in preserving the memory of regional history resources and encouraging the appreciation of local history.  To this end, he has served as editor of a community history project focusing on coal towns, contributed the historical background information for the UVa-Wise Wetlands Trail, and served on the advisory boards of the Fort Concho National Historic Landmark and the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum.


  • 2006 James I. Robertson Literary Prize for Confederate History for Contested Borderland.
  • “Faculty Who Make a Difference” Award. Recognized by Angelo State University, 2010.
  • 2011 Tennessee History Book Award for Confederate Outlaw.

Selected Publications

  • McKnight, Brian D.  “We Fight For Peace”:  Twenty-Three American Soldiers, Prisoners of War, and “Turncoats” in the Korean War.  Kent, OH:  Kent State University Press, 2014

We Fight For Peace

  • McKnight, Brian D.and James S. Humphreys.  The Age of Andrew Jackson.  Interpreting American History Series.  Kent, OH:  Kent State University Press, 2011.

The Age of Andrew Jackson

  • McKnight, Brian D.  Confederate Outlaw:  Champ Ferguson and the Civil War in Appalachia.  Baton Rouge, LA:  Louisiana State University Press, 2011.

Confederate Outlaw

  • McKnight, Brian D.  Contested Borderland:  The Civil War in Appalachian Kentucky and Virginia.  Lexington, KY:  University Press of Kentucky, 2006.

Contested Borderland