Calvin T. Ryan Library Faculty Profile Series

The Calvin T. Ryan Library Faculty Profile Series strives to highlight work done by UNK faculty members and others whose scholarly or creative activity focuses on Nebraska or the Great Plains.


Dr. Todd Kerstetter

Professor of History Texas Christian University
Flood on the Tracks: Living, Dying, and the Nature of Disaster in the Elkhorn River Basin
Presented: Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Todd M. Kerstetter earned his Ph.D. in History at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and is Professor of History at Texas Christian University. Kerstetter specializes in the history of the American West. His books include Inspiration and Innovation: Religion in the American West and God’s Country, Uncle Sam’s Land: Faith and Conflict in the American West. The latter examines religion’s role in conflicts between the United States and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Lakota Ghost Dancers, and the Branch Davidians. His most recent book, Flood on the Tracks: Living, Dying, and the Nature of Disaster in the Elkhorn River Basin was published earlier this year by Texas Tech University Press. He is currently writing an environmental history of water in Fort Worth and Dallas.











Dr. David Vail

Assistant Professor of History at University of Nebraska Kearney
Chemical Lands: Pesticides, Aerial Spraying, and Health in North America’s Grasslands since 1945
Presented: Thursday, January 25, 2018


In Chemical Lands, Vail shows that a distinctly regional view of agricultural health evolved after World War II. His analysis reveals a particularly strong ethic in the North American grasslands where practitioners sought to understand and deploy insecticides and herbicides by designing local scientific experiments, engineering more precise aircraft sprayers, developing more narrowly specific chemicals, and planting targeted test crops. This study provides a unique perspective of the Ag pilots, weed scientists, and farmers who struggled to navigate novel technologies while striving to manage and mitigate threats to human health and the environment.