Robert Michael Morrissey

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Personal profile

Personal profile

Bob Morrissey specializes in the history of early America and the Atlantic world, American frontier and borderlands history, ethnohistory, and environmental history.  His first book tells the story of French colonists and Native peoples of the Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes in the 17th and 18th centuries.  The book is entitled, "Empire by Collaboration: Indians, Colonists, and Governments in the Colonial Illinois Country, and it appears in the Early American Studies Series from University of Pennsylvania Press.  His next project is entitled "The Illinois and the Edge Effect: People, Environment, and Power in the Tallgrass Prairie Borderlands."  It is a study of the relationship between people and non-human nature in one of North America's most distinctive ecological and social frontiers from 1200 to 1850.  It is supported by fellowships by the Illinois Center for Advanced Study and from the National Endowment for the Humanities. An article from this project entitled "Climate, Ecology, and History in North America’sTallgrass Prairie Borderlands" is forthcoming in the journal Past & Present.

In 2018-2020, Bob will be the Mellon Faculty Fellow in Environmental Humanities at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, where he will lead an interdisciplinary team in programming, research, and curriculum development. In 2016-17, Bob was Helen Corley Petit Scholar in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. From 2016-2021, he is a Conrad Humanities Scholar in LAS.

Outside of his work as a professor, Bob is chapter advisor for the Evans Scholar House at Illinois. He also helps to organize the Society of Colonial Wars' Colonial America Lecture Series at the Newberry Library in Chicago.

Research Interests

U.S. Colonial
Atlantic World
Environmental History
Native American History


MA, M.Phil, PhD, Yale University
BA Carleton College, Northfield MN


History 570a: Problems in U.S. History to 1830
History 570b: Global Environmental History
History 170/171: U.S. History to 1877
History 202: American Environmental History
History 370: Colonial America
History 371: The American Revolution
History 200: Natives and Newcomers in Early America

Office Address

309 Gregory Hall
810 S. Wright Street
M/C 466
Urbana, IL 61801

Office Phone

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the expert's scholarly documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

Illinois Arts & Humanities
Bison Arts & Humanities
Borderlands Arts & Humanities
Colonies Arts & Humanities
Colonists Arts & Humanities
Language Arts & Humanities
Loyalty Arts & Humanities
Jesuits Arts & Humanities

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2010 2018


Clarence W. Alvord: The Illinois Historical Survey and the invention of local history

Morrissey, R. M., Jan 1 2017, The University of Illinois: Engine of Innovation. Hoxie, F. E. (ed.). University of Illinois Press, p. 103-109 7 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Activities 2009 2016

Empire by Collaboration

Robert Michael Morrissey (Invited speaker)
Feb 14 2014

Activity: Talk typesInvited talk

Creating an American Character: Finding Salvation in Capitalism?

Robert Michael Morrissey (Invited speaker)
Jun 2013

Activity: Talk typesInvited talk

Family History in the Colonial Illinois Country

Robert Michael Morrissey (Invited speaker)
Sep 8 2012

Activity: Talk typesInvited talk

The Seven Years War

Robert Michael Morrissey (Invited speaker)
Feb 2010

Activity: Talk typesInvited talk

The Illinois and the Edge Effect

Robert Michael Morrissey (Invited speaker)
Mar 2016

Activity: Talk typesInvited talk

Honors & Recognition