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V. Markham Lester

V. Markham Lester

Michael Atchison Professor of History

V. Markham LesterOffice:

Berte Humanities Building 219

Contact Information:

Birmingham-Southern College
Box 549031
900 Arkadelphia Rd
Birmingham, AL 35254
Office Phone: (205) 226-4789
Office Fax: 205-226-3089

Brief Career Background:

Mark Lester is the W. Michael Atchison Professor of History and Law. A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Dr. Lester graduated with honors and distinction from Rhodes College where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He has received an A.M. degree in Middle Eastern history from Harvard University, a J.D. from the University of Virginia, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Oxford. In 1998 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society for his book Victorian Insolvency: Bankruptcy, Imprisonment for Debt and Company Winding-up in Nineteenth-Century England (Oxford University Press, 1995). Dr. Lester is the recipient of the Omicron Delta Kappa Excellence in Teaching Award and has served as adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Alabama. He and his wife have two married sons and a grandson.

Educational Background:

D. Phil. (modern history), University of Oxford (1991)
J. D., University of Virginia (1979)
A. M., Harvard University (1975)
B. A., with honors and distinction, Rhodes College (1973)

Areas of Academic Interest:

  • 19th and 20th-century British politics
  • Practice of law in 19th-century Britain
  • H. H. Asquith (1852-1928)
  • First Amendment--United States Constitution
  • Bankruptcy in 19th-century Britain

Courses Taught:

HI 102 European Civilization I (1)
The historical development of European social and political attitudes and institutions through the Age of Enlightenment.

HI 103 European Civilization II (1)
The historical development of European social and political attitudes and institutions from the French Revolution to the late twentieth century.

HI 241 Monarchs, Rebellion, and Empire: History of England from the Anglo-Saxons to George III (1)
A survey of the political, social, economic, and constitutional history of England and the British Empire to 1789. Among the many subjects examined are the Anglo-Saxons, the Norman Conquest, the Wars of the Roses, Henry VIII and the English Reformation, Elizabeth I and the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the English Civil War, the Restoration, the establishment of the "first" British Empire, and the responses to the American and French Revolutions. Lectures are supplemented by audio-visuals to add further context.

HI 242 Industry, Imperialism, and World War: History of England from George III to the Present (1)
A survey of the political, social, economic, and constitutional history of England and the British Empire from 1789 to the present. Among the many subjects examined are the Industrial Revolution, imperialism, the Irish independence movement, the First and Second World Wars, the Socialist and Thatcher revolutions, and the end of empire. Lectures are supplemented by audio-visuals to add further context (an IC designated course).

HI 265 The Middle East in the Twentieth Century (1)
A study of the history of the Middle East from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire until the present day.The course offers an introduction to the geography, ethnography, and religions of the region, followed by an investigation of British and French colonialism and the inter-war independence struggles in the area. Emphasis is also placed on the growth of modern Middle Eastern states and societies after 1945, with particular focus on the topics of nationalism, modernization, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Iranian revolution, and the Gulf War (an IC designated course).

HI 270 Practice of History Seminar (1)
A study of what history is and what the historian does. Through an examination of some of the classics of historical writing, attention is given to perspectives of the various historians and to the changing nature of the questions they have sought to answer. By preparing their own research paper, students are also exposed to contemporary methods and techniques of historical writing and research. Prerequisite: sophomore or junior standing or consent.

HI 326 Constitutional History of the United States II (1)
A study of the development of the Constitution of the United States since Reconstruction. Topics examined include the regulation of interstate commerce, the Constitution and the two World Wars, the New Deal, civil rights, the Warren court, the Watergate affair, and the recent transition to conservative constitutionalism. Prerequisite: at least sophomore standing.

HI 347 [311] Britain in the Twentieth Century (1)
Transition from empire to commonwealth, the Irish problem, two world wars and their consequences, reform, life and letters in England from 1901 to the recent past (a Leadership Studies designated course). Prerequisite: at least sophomore standing.

HI 470 Senior Research Symposium (1)
The senior capstone seminar, in which students write a major research paper on a topic of their choice with approval by the history faculty. Students will present their research in a senior conference, fulfilling the Scholarship Foundations graduation requirement. Prerequisite: approval of research topic by history faculty.