Skip to main content


The Center for Public History draws on the rich faculty resources of the Department of History, the University of Houston, and the wider Houston community to offer our students unique classroom, research, and outreach opportunities. These faculty members have expertise in the fields of energy, environmental, legal, policy and urban history and a wide variety of public history experiences.

Center for Public History Steering Committee Faculty


Monica Perales
Director, Center for Public History
Co-director, Gulf Coast Food Project
Associate Professor of History
(713) 743-3103



Nancy Beck Young
Associate Director, Center for Public History
Public History Advisor, Center for Public History
Professor of History
(713) 743-3085



Debbie Z. Harwell
Editor, Houston History magazine
Instructional Assistant Professor of History, Department of History




Kristina Neumann
Associate Professor of History, Department of History
(713) 743-0480





Leandra Zarnow
Associate Professor of History, Department of History
(713) 743-3124





 Todd Romero
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Affairs
Associate Professor of History, Department of History
(713) 743-3112




Center for Public History, Founding Directors


Martin Melosi

Martin Melosi
Founding Director, Center for Public History
Distinguished University Professor of History
(713) 743-3090


Joseph Pratt

Joseph Pratt
Director Emeritus, Houston History Project
Coordinator, Energy Management and Policy Group (EMAP)
Cullen Chair of History and Business
(713) 743-3088




Wes Jackson
Program Manager, Center for Public History


Affiliated Faculty

Name Contact info
Kathleen A. Brosnan
Travis Chair of History
University of Oklahoma

Phone: (405) 325-8046

Julie Cohn
Research Historian

James Granato
Hobby Center for Public Policy
University of Houston

Frank Holt
Professor of History

(713) 743-3127

Karl Ittmann
Associate Professor of History

(713) 743-3102

William Kellar
Independent Consultant

Kairn Klieman
Associate Professor of History

(713) 743-1306

Louis Marchiafava
Independent Consultant


Natalia Milanesio
Assistant Professor of History
(713) 743-3113 
Richard M. Mizelle, Jr.
Assistant Professor of History

Kristina Neumann
Assistant Professor of History

Phone: (713) 743-0480

Temple Northup
Assistant Professor
Jack J. Valenti School of Communication

Tyler Priest
Associate Professor
Department of History
University of Iowa
Raul Ramos
Associate Professor of History
(713) 743-3116 
Todd Romero
Co-director, Houston Food History Project
Assistant Professor of History
 (713) 743-3112
James Schafer
Assistant Professor of History
 (713) 743-3119
Helen Valier
Coordinator, Medicine and Society
Assistant Professor, Honors College
Eric Walther
Professor of History
 (713) 743-3101
Kristin Wintersteen
Assistant Professor of History
Mark Young
Archivist, Hospitality Industry Archives, Conrad Hilton College

Nancy Beck Young
Professor of History
Phone: (713) 743-3085
Leandra Zarnow
Assistant Professor of History
Phone: (713) 743-3124

Visiting Scholars

visiting scholars 2013

The Center for Public History is pleased to welcome our visiting scholars for 2012-2013.

Thomas Zhang ( is a history professor from Jiangxi Normal University of Science and Technology in China. Educated at Fudan University, Thomas has fifteen years of teaching and research experience in US history. He also is Vice-director of modern world history teaching and research section at his university. Thomas will spend the year studying environmental history.

Teresa Spezio (tsspezio@Central.UH.EDU) holds a PhD in history from UC Davis, an MA in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon, and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Case Western Reserve. She will spend her year as CPH Visiting Scholar revising her dissertation, “Rising Tide: The Santa Barbara Oil Spill and Its Aftermath.”

Richard Mizelle ( Assistant Professor of History at Florida State University. He received his PhD from Rutgers University. His first book, Backwater Blues: The 1927 Mississippi Flood, Cultural Representations of Disaster and Mobility in New Deal-era America, will be published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2014. He also co-edited a book entitled, Resilience and Opportunity: Lesson from the U.S. Gulf Coast after Katrina and Rita (2011), and is conducting research on Sugar Diabetes: Medical Entitlement, High Technology, and the Cultural Landscape of Diabetes in America. Rick will teach a graduate course on race, health, and the environment for Spring 2013 and direct the Environmental History Workshop.

Isabelle Parmentier ( will be with CPH from January 3 through March 30, 2013. Isabelle is a Lecturer in history at the University of Namur in Belgium. She received her doctorate from the University of Louvain, and is the author or editor of five books. Active in environmental history in Europe and having administrative experience in international programs, Isabelle will deepen her study of environmental history and work on an article focusing on environmental justice and NIMBYism while at UH. Isabelle is joined in Houston by he husband, Francois, and their two teenage daughters attending Lamar High School.

David Nye, professor of history at the University of Southern Denmark and winner of the Leonardo da Vinci Prize in the history of technology will join us for a couple of days in April.

Simo Laakkonen, professor of history at the University of Helsinki, will be a visiting professor briefly in June. We will have more information about presentations at a later time.