Skip to main content
MenuSearch & Directory

Flannery Burke, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Courses Taught

World Environmental History since 1500 (undergraduate and graduate); History of the American West (undergraduate and graduate); North American Environmental History (undergraduate and graduate); Historian's Craft (undergraduate); U.S. Women's History (undergraduate); U.S. History since 1865 (undergraduate)


Doctor of Philosophy, History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, May 2002

Doctoral Minor, Cultural Studies, Havens Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, May 1998

Master of Arts, History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, December 1997

Bachelor of Arts, History, Magna Cum Laude, Bryn Mawr College, May 1994

Research Interests

As a westerner who went back East for her university education, Burke is fascinated by places and regions and how people think about them.  Like all environmental historians, she turns to nature as a source. Her investigations take her to the work of artists, writers, policy makers, and activists, but also to mesas, irrigation ditches, aspen forests and other sites that make up the western landscape.  She's deeply committed to sharing the long history of indigenous peoples and Spanish-speaking cultures of the American Southwest and incorporating that history into the regional, national, and global stories that historians tell.

Her current book project, which she calls "Back East," ranges from the Midwest to the far West.  In it, she turns a common theme in the history of the American West on its head.  Instead of the "West of the imagination," the American West as easterners have viewed it, she's investigating the "East of the imagination," the American East as westerners have viewed it.  She chronicles how twentieth-century writers, public land advocates, politicians, and students built their careers and institutions in the West around an image of the East as cultured, urbane, moneyed, and powerful.  The project has taken her from the Kansas prairie to the Rocky Mountains; from Ken Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion to Era Bell Thompson's American Daughter.

Researching and writing "Back East" has been some of the most fun she's ever had, matched only by the work that she's done in history education with teachers across the United States and in Norway. 

Publications and Media Placements


A Land Apart: The Southwest and the Nation in the Twentieth Century, University of Arizona Press Modern American West Series, 2017 (Spur Award for Best Contemporary Non-Fiction from the Western Writers of America; Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Library Association and finalist for the Weber Clements Book Prize from the Western History Association)

From Greenwich Village to Taos: Primitivism and Place at Mabel Dodge Luhan’s, University Press of Kansas, 2008  (Ralph Emerson Twitchell Award from the Historical Society of New Mexico)

Articles and Essays

"Worry, USA: Dude Ranch Advertising Looks East," Montana: The Magazine of Western History, Summer 2019

 “The Arrogance of the East: How Westerners Created a Region” Western Historical Quarterly, Winter 2018/19 

 “Mothers’ Nature: Feminism, Environmentalism and Childbirth in the 1970s,” co-authored with Jennifer Seltz, Journal of Women’s History, Summer 2018

“Spud Johnson and A Gay Man’s Place in Taos’s Creative Arts Community,” Pacific Historical Review, February 2010

“An Artists’ Home: Gender and the Santa Fe Culture Colony Controversy,” Journal of the Southwest, Summer 2004

“Artists and Boosters,” chapter in Making of the American West: New Perspectives in American Social History, Perspectives in American Social History Series, ABC-CLIO, 2007

Publications in Scholarship of History Teaching and Learning

"The Other Sides of History," Teaching History, Spring 2019

“Promise not Poison: The C3 Framework for the Social Studies,” The Leader, National Social Studies Supervisors Association, March 2014

C3 Framework for the Social Studies, National Council for the Social Studies, co-author, 2013

“Choose Your Own Adventure,” OAH Magazine of History, July 2013

"What Does It Mean to Think Historically," co-authored with Thomas Andrews, Perspectives, January 2007

Honors and Awards

  • Provost Faculty Research Leave, College of Arts and Sciences, Saint Louis University, 2015-2016
  • Fulbright Norway Roving Scholar Fellowship, J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, 2013-2014
  • Mellon Faculty Development Grant in the Humanities, College of Arts and Sciences, Saint Louis University, Summer 2009
  • Butcher Scholar, Institute of the American West and Women of the West Museum, Autry National Center, 2006-2007
  • Off-Campus Faculty Fellowship, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Brigham Young University, January 2006
  • Jackson Brothers Fellowship, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, January 2004
  • Harry Ransom Center Fellowship, University of Texas, Austin, June 2003
  • Bill and Rita Clements Postdoctoral Fellowship, William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University, 2002-2003 academic year
  • Smithsonian Institution Predoctoral Fellowship, Spring 2001
  • Andrew Mellon Foundation Interpretive Seminar in the Humanities Member, Huntington Library, Summer 2000
  • W.M. Keck Foundation Fellow of the Huntington Library, Spring 2000

Teaching Awards

  • Innovative Teaching Fellowship Award, Reinert Center for Teaching Excellence, St. Louis University, 2011-2012 and 2018 - 2019
  • Polished Apple Teaching Award, California State University, Northridge, May 2005
  • Judge Julian Beck Instructional Improvement Grant for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, California State University, Northridge, 2004-2005

Community Work and Service

  • Investigating the Roots of Ferguson, United World College-USA Project Week Organizer, Spring 2015, Spring 2016
  • Board, Missouri Council for History Education, November 2008-Present