Stephen M. Miller, Ph.D., F.R. Hist. S.
Professor and History Department Chair
Ph.D., University of Connecticut, 1996
M.A., New York University, 1989
B.A., Tufts University, 1987
Courses regularly taught:
HTY 106: European Civilization II (from 1715)
HTY 112: Introduction to Africa [Summer Only]
HTY 279: European Military History
HTY 449: History of South Africa
HTY 450: History of the British Empire
HTY 456: History of Great Britain II
HTY 498: Senior Seminar: European History
HTY 519: Modern Britain and Empire
HTY 550: Readings on British Military History
HTY 550: Readings on South African History
HTY 550: Readings on Modern Britain and Empire
HTY 611: Research Seminar – Military History
My research focuses on the British Army and the South African War. I am currently working on two projects. The first explores late Victorian cultural assumptions which effected British decision-making leading up to the South African War, the tactics employed on the battlefield, and soldiers’ interactions with combatants and non-combatants off the battlefield. Cultural assumptions about the Boers (Afrikaners), Black communities, and the South African landscape produced a unique Victorian response to this conflict. Strategy from the start was affected by how British officers predicted a white, rural, and so deemed inferior “race” would act in the war. Decisions of British soldiers, for example, whether to surrender in difficult circumstances were likewise determined by dilemmas informed by how the Boers were expected to react. Treatment of prisoners and women and children also had as much to do with Victorian culture as it had to do with Victorian perceptions of Boer culture. This work emphasizes that the numerous “small wars” fought by British armies in the late 19th century, of which the South African War was the largest, were each unique and worthy of study not just as political history but as cultural military history.
The second project is a more generalized study, investigating the role of the military in the pursuit, sustenance, and development of the British Empire from 1850 to 1902. It explores the extent to which its leading generals, Lords Roberts and Wolseley, pursued policies of their own to both further their personal interests and their professional careers, and how their actions affected the “New Imperialism” of the late Victorian era. It also examines how these men through their manipulation of the British media shaped attitudes about race, class, and empire.
o “The British Way of War: Cultural Assumptions and Practices in the South African War, 1899-1902,” Journal of Military History 77 4 (October 2013): 1329-1347.
o “The South African War,” in I.F.W. Beckett, ed., Citizen Soldiers and Empire: The Amateur Military Tradition in the British Empire, 1837-1902 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2012).
o “British and Imperial Volunteers in the South African War,” in Sonja Levsen and Christine Krueger, ed., War Volunteering in Modern Times (London: Palgrave, 2011).
o “Duty or Crime? Defining Acceptable Behavior in the British Army in South Africa, 1899-1902,” Journal of British Studies 49 2 (April 2010): 311-331.
o Soldiers and Settlers in Africa, 1850-1918, ed. (Leiden: Brill, 2009).
o “Sir Redvers Buller,” in Steven Corvi and I.F.W. Beckett, eds., Victoria’s Generals (London: Pen and Sword Books, 2009).
o Volunteers on the Veld: Britain’s Citizen-Soldiers and the South African War 1899-1902 (Norman OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007).
o “Fighting the Other Enemy: Boredom, Drudgery, and Restlessness on the South African Veld, 1900-1902,” Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, Special Pub. No. 16 (2007): 75-88.
o “Slogging Across the Veld: British Volunteers and the Guerrilla Phase of the South African War,” Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research 84 (2006): 158-174.
o “In Support of the ‘Imperial Mission’? Volunteering for the South African War,” Journal of Military History 69 3 (2005): 691-713.
o Lord Methuen and the British Army: Failure and Redemption in South Africa (London: Frank Cass & Co., 1999).
o “Lord Methuen and the British Advance to the Modder River,” Military History Journal (Johannesburg) 10, no. 4 (1996): 121-36. (Awarded the Roderick Murchison Memorial Prize by the South African Military Historical Society).
Recent Book Reviews:
o “Remembering the South African War: Britain and the Memory of the Anglo-Boer War, from 1899 to the Present” by Peter Donaldson, Journal of Military History 78:2 (2014): 793-794.
o “Slaves of Fortune: Sudanese Soldiers & the River War 1896-1898” by Ronald M. Lamothe, Journal of African History 53:2 (2012): 273-275.
o “Roberts & Kitchener in South Africa 1900-1902″ by Rodney Atwood, Journal of Military History 76:3 (2012): 889-890.
o “Going to War: British Debates from Wilberforce to Blair” by Philip Towle, Journal of Military History 75:4 (2011): 1291-1292.
o “Distant Drums: The Role of Colonies in British Imperial Warfare” by Ashley Jackson, Journal of Military History 74:3 (2010): 947-8.
o “Red Coat Dreaming: How Colonial Australia Embraced the British Army” by Craig Wilcox, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research 88:356 (2010): 346-347.
o “Historical Dictionary of the Anglo-Boer War” by Fransjohan Pretorius, Journal of Military History 74:1 (2010): 261-262.
o “The Last Great War: British Society and the First World War” by Adrian Gregory, Journal of Military History 73:4 (2009): 1360-1361.
o “Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, The Boers, and The Making of South Africa” by Martin Meredith, H-Net, June 2008.
o “Martial Races” by Heather Streets, Scottish Historical Review 82:2 (2007): 358-359.
o “Citizen Soldiers: The Liverpool Territorials in the First World War” by Helen B. McCartney, Journal of Military History 71:3 (2007): 935-936.
o “Crossing the Buffalo: The Zulu War of 1879″ by Adrian Greaves, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research 84 (Winter 2006): 397.
o “The Victorian Soldier in Africa” by Edward M. Spiers, Journal of Military History 70:1 (2006): 248-249.
o “The Victorians at War” by Ian F. W. Beckett, Journal of Military History 69:2 (2005): 568-569.
o “The Victorians at War: An Encyclopedia of British Military History” by Harold Raugh, Jr., Journal of Military History 69:2 (2005): 568-569.
o Comment, “Politics on the Frontier,” Society for Military History, Annual Meeting, Washington DC, May 2012.
o “The Impact of Victorian Stereotyping on Strategy and Practice in the South African War, 1899-1902,” North American Conference on British Studies, Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado, November 2011.
o “The British Way of War: Cultural Assumptions and Practices in the South African War, 1899-1902,” Society for Military History, Annual Meeting, Lisle, Illinois, June 2011.
o Comment, Military Frontiers: A Graduate Symposium – Border Crossings, Mershon Center for International Security Studies, Ohio State University, May 12-14, 2011.
o “British Volunteers and the Anglo-Boer War,” Anglo-Boer War 110th Anniversary Conference, Ladysmith, KwaZuluNatal, South Africa, January 25-27, 2010.
o “British Soldiers, Military Law and the South African War, 1899-1902,” Society for Military History, Annual Meeting, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, April 2009.
o “Volunteers on the Veld: British Citizen-Soldiers and the South African War 1899-1902,” Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, April 2008.
o “Duty or Crime?: Defining Acceptable Behavior in the British Army in South Africa, 1899-1902,” European Social Science History Conference, University of Lisbon, Portugal, February 2008.
o “British and Imperial Volunteers in the South African War,” Conference on War Volunteers, Collaborative Research Center for War Experience, Blaubeuren, Germany, September 2007.
o “Africa and Late Victorian Small Wars, 1870-1902,” Chair, Society for Military History, Annual Meeting, Frederick, Maryland, April 2007.
o “Trying to Find Meaning in a Guerrilla War: British Volunteers and South Africa, 1900-1902,” Western Conference on British Studies, Dallas, Texas, October 2006.
o “Fighting the Other Enemy: Boredom, Drudgery and Restlessness on the South African Veld, 1900-1902,” Britons at War: New Perspectives, Centre for the Experience of War, University College, Northampton, UK, April 2006.
o “Slogging Across the Veldt: British Volunteers and the Guerrilla Phase of the South African War,” Society for Military History, Annual Meeting, Charleston, SC, February 2005.