Dr. Roger B Beck, Professor Emeritus
Office: 2562 - Coleman Hall
Roger Beck's Vita
Roger B. Beck is Distinguished Professor of African and World History at Eastern Illinois University, where he has taught for twenty-six years. He has spent extensive time in South Africa, including
three years as a Fulbright doctoral dissertation research fellow, and while teaching at the University of Cape Town. He also taught two years each at international schools in Paris, Tokyo, and London. He has travelled widely across South Africa, in many of the neighboring countries, and around the world. His History of South Africa will appear in a 2nd edition in November 2013. Beck has published over a hundred book chapters, journal articles, encyclopedia essays, and book reviews. He has translated from Afrikaans to English three of the most important works by the famous South African historian P. J. van der Merwe. Beck is a co-author of the college world history text, A History of World Societies, now going into its 10th edition, and also of the high school world history text, World History: Patterns of Interaction. He is the recipient of two Fulbright awards, and from the University of Evansville, the President's Medal of Honor, the university's highest award. He also serves on the Board of Trustees at the University of Evansville. He is currently working on a four-volume collection, Documents in World History, for Facts on File publishers.
Frequently Taught Courses
History of Africa (2 semester course)
History of South Africa
History of Third World
Modern World History
20th Century World History
Imperialism (graduate course)
Great War and its Consequences (graduate course)
Ph.D. in African History, Indiana University
M.A. in History, Indiana University
M.S. in Social Studies Education, Indiana University
B.A. in Social Studies/History, University of Evansville
African Studies Association
American Historical Association
Association for Documentary Editing
South African Historical Association
National Council for the Social Studies
Van Riebeeck Society (South Africa)
World History Association
For more information, please visit the Speakers Bureau Webpage.
South Africa, Africa, missionaries, Great War, World History, 20th Century World History.
Author, The History of South Africa. 2nd ed. History of the Modern Nations Series. Greenwood Press, Fall, 2013.
Co-Author, Understanding World Societies. A Brief History. 1st ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. Textbook with Patricia Ebrey, Merry Weisner-Hanks, Clare Crowston. (October 2012).
Co-Author, A History of World Societies, 9th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. Textbook with Patricia Ebrey, Merry Wiesner-Hanks, Clare Crowston. (September 2011).
Co-Author, World History. Patterns of Interaction (Evanston: McDougal Littell, Spring, 1998). (Ninth and tenth grade world history text.) Third Edition, Spring 2004.
Translator, The Migrant Farmer in the History of the Cape Colony, 1657-1842 (Translation of Die Trekboer in die Geskiendenis van die Kaapkolonie (1657-1842), by P.J. van der Merwe.) (Afrikaans to English). (Ohio University Press, 1995)
Chapter, "All Things to All People: Christian Missionaries in Early Nineteenth Century South Africa," in Missions, State and European Expansion in Africa, Raphel Njoku and Chima Korieh, eds. (London: Routledge, 2007): 11-34.
Chapter on "Cape Officials and Christian Missionaries in the Early Nineteenth Century," in Christian Missionaries and the State in the Third World. Eds. Michael Twaddle and Holger Bernt Hansen. Oxford: James Curry, September, 2001.
Chapter on "Monarchs and Missionaries among the Tswana and Sotho," in Christianity in the History of South Africa. Eds. Richard Elphick and Rodney Davenport. (Oxford: James Curry; Cape Town: David Philip; Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1997).
Article, "Editing the John Philip Papers," History in Africa 18(1991): 39-47.
Article, "Structure and Spontaneity: Pedagogical Tensions in the Construction of a Simulation of the Cuban Missile Crisis," The History Teacher (Beck, Pace, et al), 24(1990): 53-65.
Article, "South Africa: First or Third World?" TransAfrica Forum 7(2, Summer 1990): 67-83.
Article, "The South African "Homelands" As Third World Areas," International Third World Studies Journal and Review 2(1, Fall 1990): 209-218.
Article, "Bibles and Beads: Missionaries as Traders in Southern Africa in the Early Nineteenth Century," Journal of African History 30(1989): 211-225.
Article, "Edward Hanbury, Cape Town Ship Chandler and Merchant," Quarterly Bulletin of the South African Library Part 1, 39(1984): 26-38.
Article, "Edward Hanbury, Cape Town Ship Chandler and Merchant," Quarterly Bulletin of the South African Library Part 2, 39(1984): 73-83.
Selected Conference Presentations
Commencement Speaker, University of Evansville Commencement, May 7, 2011
Invited Lecture, “Missionaries and Commerce in Latin America and Africa,” Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark, October 5, 2009.
Classroom Teaching, Lesson in World History, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark, October 4, 2009
Presentation to History Faculty, “World History,” Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark, October 6, 2009 [My co-authored textbook, History of World Societies
, is used at Aarhus University.]
Presenter, “Integrating Christianity and Christian Missions into Teaching World History.” World History Association Conference, Milwaukee, WI. June 29, 2007.
Invited Presenter, ““Religions and Religious Missions in World History: Connectors, dividers, and Globalizers,” at “Research in World History: Connections and Globalizations,” Research Agenda Symposium, Boston, MA, 11 November 2006.
Presenter, “Commerce and/or Christianity: British Settler Economies and the Great Debate,” to be presented at the XIV International Economic History Congress, Helsinki, Finland, 25 August 2006.
Presenter, “All Things to All People: Christian Missionaries in Nineteenth-Century South Africa,” 48th
Annual Meeting, African Studies Association, Washington, D.C., 17 November, 2005.
Presenter, “’Extending British Interests, British Influence, and the British empire.’ Missionaries and British Identity, 1790-1850,” 51st
Annual Midwest Conference on British Studies, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN, September 24, 2005.
Presenter, “Missionaries were Britons Too!”, 4th
British World Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, July 16, 2005.
Presenter, “Missionaries and Settler Economies,” 20th
International Congress of Historical Sciences, Sydney, Australia, July 7, 2005.
Invited Speaker, “World History Textbooks: Have we go it right yet?”, Conference on Teaching World History, German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2005.
Presenter, “The Cape Frontier and Great Treks: Missionaries, Itinerant Traders, Trekboers, British Settlers, and the Mfecane Revisited,” 47th
Annual Meeting of the African Studies Assocation, New Orleans, 13 November 2004.
Presenter, “South Africa, the Cold War, and Apartheid,” 13th
Annual International Conference of the World History Association, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, 18 June 2004.
Presenter, “Smouse in the Cape Colony, 1795-1845,” Biennial Conference, Historical Association of South Africa, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, 7 April 2004.
Chair, “Ethnicity and Religion,” Biennial Conference, Historical Association of South Africa, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, 5 April, 2004.
Presenter, “Translating van der Merwe. The Life and Work of P.J. van der Merwe,” Biennial Conference, Historical Association of South Africa, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, 5 April, 2004.
Invited Lecture, "Was Nelson Mandela a Communist? Resistance to Apartheid and the Cold War." 2nd Annual Thomas Fiddick Memorial Lecture at the University of Evansville on February 27, 2004.
Chair, “Religion and Foreign Impacts,” Joint Korean Historical Association/World History Association Conference, Seoul, South Korea, 16 August 2002.
Chair, “Asian Spirituality in History,” Joint Korean Historical Association/World History Association Conference, Seoul, South Korea, 17 August 2002.
Presenter, "Teaching World History in the Social Studies Curriculum," Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, San Francisco, 9 January, 1994.
Presenter, "Offering Salvation and Civilization: Missionaries in the Third World," Third World Studies Conference, Omaha, Nebraska, 7 October 1993.
Discussant, panel on "Cultural History and the Sociology of the Mission Station," Conference on "People, Power & Culture: The History of Christianity in South Africa, 1792-1992," 13 August 1992, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa.
Participant, Workshop on Missionaries Archives, 8-9 July, 1992, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, England.
Presenter, "Beyond the Boundaries: Relations between the Cape Colonial Officials and Christian Missionaries in the Early Nineteenth Century," Conference on "Christian Missionaries and the State in the Third World," 29 May 1992, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Presenter, "Christian Missionaries and European Expansion: Reflections on the Quincentenary," Annual Meeting of the Ohio Academy of History, 11 April 1992, Dayton, Ohio.
Presenter, "Bibles and Beads: Missionaries as Traders in Africa in the Nineteenth Century." African Studies Association 31st Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, 28 October 1988.
Presenter, "Student Teachers and the Social Studies: What Should They Know and How Should They Perform?" Ninth Annual History Conference, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois, 30 September 1988.
Presenter, "Missionaries as Traders: A South African Case Study." World History Association Conference, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, 29 April 1988.
Presenter, "Edward Hanbury, Cape Town Ship Chandler and Merchant." Fourth Cape Town History Workshop, Cape Town, South Africa, 3 June 1983.
Presenter, "Marketing Systems and Merchant Capital Penetration on the Cape Frontier, 1817-1830." Oxford University, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Post Graduate Seminar, 24 November 1982.
Presenter, "Marketing Systems and Merchant Capital Penetration on the Cape Frontier, 1817-1830." University of London, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Post Graduate Seminar, "The Societies of Southern Africa," 29 October 1982.
Funding & Grants
Redden Grant, EIU, September 2012.
Council for Faculty Research Award, FY95
Council for Faculty Research Award, FY92
Council for Faculty Research Award, FY91
Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad - Brazil, Summer 1991.
Presidential Summer Research Award, Eastern Illinois University, Summer 1990.
Council for Faculty Research Grant, FY89.
Council for Faculty Research Grant, FY88.
Presidential Summer Research Award, Eastern Illinois University, Summer 1988.
Improvement of Undergraduate Instruction Endowment Grant, Eastern Illinois University, Spring 1988.
Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship, 1982-83.
FLAS Language Fellowship, Indiana University, Zulu, 1979-80.
FLAS Language Fellowship, Indiana University, Afrikaans, l978-79.
Reviewer, U.S. Department of Education, Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Award Review Team for Africa, July, 2012
Reader, AP World History Exams, Salt Lake City, June 2012
Chair, EIU Council on Planning and Budget, 2011-2012.
Member, EIU Strategic Planning Committee, January – December 2011
Reviewer, U.S. Department of Education, Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Award Review Team for Africa, January, 2011
Reviewer, U.S. Department of Education, Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program Review Team for Africa, Fall 2010
Member, Select Committee, EIU 2010 Master Plan, 2010.
Member, University of Evansville, Board of Trustees, 2009 --
Member, African Studies Association, Local Planning Committee for Annual Conference, Chicago Illinois, November 2008.
Member, EIU Presidential Search Committee, 2006-2007.
Treasurer, World History Association, Jan. 2000--Jan. 2006
Acting Associate Dean, EIU Graduate School and International Programs, 1994-1996
Consultant on National History Standards Project for World History, National Center for History in the Schools, UCLA, Los Angeles, August 1994.
World History Association, National History Standards Project focus group for World History, Chicago, July 1994.
Member, Test Development Committee for the GRE Writing Measure, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey, 1993-.
Member, National Executive Council of the World History Association, 1993-1996.
Awarded University of Evansville’s Highest Award, President’s Medal of Honor, May 2011
Awarded EIU Achievement and Contribution Award for Service, Fall, 2010.
EIU Distinguished Faculty Award, 2007
Awarded EIU Achievement and Contribution Award for Research/Creative Activity, Fall, 2006
Awarded EIU Achievement and Contribution Award for Research/Creative Activity, Fall, 2001.
Awarded EIU Achievement and Contribution Award for Research/Creative Activity, Fall, 1998.
Susan O'Kell Award, Outstanding Associate Instructor, Indiana University History Department, 1984-1985