Department of History College of Arts and Sciences
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Stein biographical page


Stephen Stein

Associate Professor

Associate Chair of the Department

[Stephen Stein]

Office: 141 Mitchell
Telephone: 901.678.2522
Fax: 901.678.2720
Education: Ph.D., History, The Ohio State University, 1999


Fields of interest

Military History, Diplomatic History, History of technology, United States history from 1877 to 1945

My own research has focused on the process of technological innovation in the U.S. Navy from the Civil War through World War I. During this period the navy introduced numerous new weapons systems and technologies including the all-big- gun battleship, automobile torpedo, submarine, radio, and the airplane. These completely transformed the face of naval combat and ushered in an era in which technological innovation became an essential ingredient to military success. The process of technological innovation remains my primary research interests —in particular how the process of technological innovation within the U. S. Navy proceeded, the internal and external debates on new technologies, and how the adoption of new technologies and adaptation to them enhanced the navy’s operational capabilities and influenced strategic and policy debates within the navy.

Courses taught

I have taught a variety of courses in U.S. and military history including: World War II, War in the Modern World, War in the Ancient World, and the United States: 1914 to 1945. In addition to his classroom teaching, I have developed three courses for the Regents Online Degree Program: Hist 2020 (the U.S. from 1877 to the present), Hist 3035 (Technology and Culture in American History) and Hist 3811 (U.S. Military and Naval history), and developed Hist 4701 (United States, 1914-1945) for the department’s own online program, which I direct. Several graduate students in the history department teach online sections under my supervision, and the online program has become an important source of funding for the department’s graduate students. We expect to develop many new online courses over the next two years. In addition to teaching for the University of Memphis, I am an adjunct professor for the U. S. Naval War College (College of Distance Education) for which I teach a graduate course in strategy and policy for middle-grade naval officers, and occasionally guest lecture at various naval bases.

Representative publications

  • From Torpedoes to Aviation: Washington Irving Chambers and Technological Innovation in the New Navy, 1877-1913 (University of Alabama Press, 2007)
  • “New Navy, Old World: the U. S. Navy’s Foreign Arms Purchasing in the Late 19th Century,” in Donald Stoker and Jonathan Grant (eds.), Girding for Battle: Arms Sales in a Global Perspective, 1800-1950 (Westport: Praeger Press, 2003)
  • “The Greely Relief Expedition and the New Navy,” International Journal of Naval History 5 (December 2006) [Eller Prize winning essay.]
  • “Interventions in Asia, 1899-1927,” in James Bradford (ed.), A Companion to American Military History (Blackwell Publishing, forthcoming)
  • “Airplane,” “iPod,” and “Video Games” in David J. Staley, The Encyclopedia of the History of the Invention and Technology (Facts on File, forthcoming)
  • “Vitka Kempner,” “Ruzka Korczak,” “Golda Meir,” and “Women in the Israeli Military” in Bernard Cook (ed.), Women and War: A Historical Encyclopedia from Antiquity to the Present (Denver: ABC-CLIO, 2006)
  • “Eilat, sinking of,” “Golda Meir,” “Israeli Defense Industry,” “Warships,” and “Chaim Weizmann” in Spencer Tucker (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Wars (Denver: ABC-CLIO, 2009)
  • “Jewish Revolt of 66 to 73” in Gabriel Palmer Fernandez (ed.), Encyclopedia of Religion and War (New York: Routledge, 2004)
  • “French Ensor Chadwick,” “William Eaton Chandler,” “Gunboat Operations, Philippines,” “John Davis Long,” and “Bradley Allen Fiske” in Spencer Tucker (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Spanish-American and Philippine Wars (Denver: ABC-CLIO, forthcoming)
  • “T.B.M. Mason” in Steve Guerrier (ed.), American Espionage: A Historical Encyclopedia (ABC-CLIO, forthcoming)
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