Jeff Bremer

Associate Professor and Co-Coordinator, Social Studies Education Program
Office:621 Ross
527 Farm House Ln.
Ames IA

I am a specialist in the early American republic, with an interest in the social and economic history of the American Midwest. In 2014 the University of Iowa Press published my book A Store Almost in Sight: The Economic Transformation of Missouri From the Louisiana Purchase to the Civil War. In 2019, I was a Fulbright Scholar at Northeast Normal University in Changchun, China, one of the most important American studies programs in the PRC, where I taught U.S. history and the history of capitalism.

My current research project is a new history of the American conquest of this state, with the unoriginal title of Frontier Iowa. This would be the first synthesis of this topic in almost a century. Frontier Iowa will take advantage of hundreds of new sources on women’s history in the Iowa Women’s Archive, as well as many other neglected memoirs, diaries, journals, and autobiographies in the State Historical Society of Iowa. These sources will broaden and diversify the story of the state’s early decades.

I am also working on a narrative survey of the state, A New History of Iowa, 1673-2020. It will use new and overlooked sources to tell a fresh and inclusive story of the first free state from the Louisiana Purchase. Iowa sent a regiment of African-American troops to fight in the Civil War and desegregated its schools in the 1860s. In World War Two it sent dozens of Meskwaki code talkers and Tuskegee Airmen to fight fascism in Europe. In the 1960s, Des Moines had a Black Panther chapter. These stories—and many others—will be part of this new history of Iowa.

I have published articles in Kansas History, The Annals of Iowa, The Missouri Historical Review, and The Southern California Quarterly and contributed chapters to The Routledge History of Rural America, as well as Southern Society and Its Transformations. A former history teacher, I help coordinate ISU’s history and social studies program. I teach methods courses and supervise student teachers. In addition, I teach Iowa history and the history of the early republic.