History & Political Science Department

Timothy Kneeland

Timothy Kneeland

Professor and Chairperson in History & Political Science
Director in Center for Public History
585-389-2649
tkneela8@naz.edu
Golisano Academic Center 454
Bio

Education: B.A. and M.A., SUNY Buffalo; M.A. and Ph.D., University of Oklahoma

Areas of Academic Interest: American politics, political history, public history, history of science and medicine, African-American history, and women's history.

Read full bio.

Background and expertise

I came to Nazareth in 2000, after a dozen years teaching in the Midwest. My teaching interests include:

  • American history from the Civil War to the present
  • American politics and the presidency
  • natural disaster studies
  • museums, archives, and public history
  • history of science and medicine
  • Spirits, presidents, and shock therapy

I’ve had the opportunity to write on a number of topics from history to politics to science in encyclopedias, journals, newspapers, textbooks, and monographs. Some of my favorite writings:

  • an article on a 19th-century American scientist who became a spiritualist and tried to scientifically prove the existence of spirits
  • studies of presidents Millard Fillmore, Franklin Roosevelt, and George H. W. Bush
  • the first historical study of electro-convulsive shock therapy ever published    

Democrats, Republicans, and natural disasters

Recently, I have delved into contemporary politics with a book on how Democrats and Republicans view social issues. The book is a balanced look at the different worldviews and perspectives of the two major American political parties. My other recent research is on natural disasters, Hurricane Agnes, and the Blizzard of 1977. I should have a popular book on the blizzard out in time for the 40th anniversary in 2017.

Learning by doing

My classes are often full of experiential learning components such as:

  • building a database about people buried in the Pittsford Cemetery, for American Republic II
  • field experiences in Natural Disasters
  • building websites and creating apps or historical tours in Public History
  • conducting political management and get-out-the-vote activities in Campaigns, Voters, and Elections
  • and more, as described on our Center for Public History webpage

I want students to learn by doing. However, I also layer that experience with thoughtful and reflective research by scholars — so there is always much to read in my classes, from professional journal articles to textbooks to novels.    

My academic passion

My history and political science courses tend to focus on power in its various forms — social, cultural, and political.

Courses I teach

My favorite course always seems to be the one I am teaching at the given time.

  • African American Experience
  • American Government and Politics
  • American Women’s History
  • American Presidency
  • American Republic II
  • Campaigns, Voters, and Elections
  • Civil War
  • History of Science in America
  • Natural Disasters in American Society
  • Public History
  • Twentieth-Century American History

Changing lives

What makes Naz unique is that we all have the common goal of changing lives. We want to work alongside students and help them achieve their goals, and at times we help students identify those goals. Students don’t just take classes at Naz, they work with professors. Teaching is not transactional, it’s relational.

How students can best prepare for working in history or politics

Students need to experience history and politics, not just study them. Volunteer with a historical society or political party; be sure to do at least one internship while at Naz. Study abroad to see how other people view the U.S.

Tim Kneeland

Media regularly seek Prof. Kneeland for his savvy political analysis. He's equally passionate about history.

Expert analysis

    Kneeland analyzes Hillary Clinton DNC speech
    Kneeland analyzes Donald Trump RNC speech
    Pope Francis' historical address to U.S. Congress

    Provokes deep thought

    "Dr. Kneeland's lectures are unique in that they are more of a conversation with the whole class where debate and questions are always encouraged and flow freely. The answers aren't necessarily in a textbook and provoke deep thought, ultimately boosting your skills and confidence in analysis. A few years after I took his course on natural disasters, I was a caseworker for all Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and disaster-related issues for Rep. Slaughter, so the course really had real-world application for me. His American Presidency course was just a total blast."

    — Katie (LaShomb) Condello '10, political science major and philosophy minor who's gone on to work as community liaison/press assistant for U.S. Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter

    Fun Fact

    Students might be surprised to know that I once had my own radio show in Greenville, Illinois.

    Passion for history

    “Dr. Kneeland introduced me to the field of public history. I had never considered the unique challenges and opportunities presenting history to the public might bring. His passion for history and belief that it is the duty of historians to engage and educate inspired me to pursue a job where I could do just that. He has supported me every step of the way — even after I graduated from Nazareth and pursued my master’s degree. I knew I could always send him an email seeking his advice and opinion and would get a response.”

    — Adam Bradford ‘13, history major, a part-time historian at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery who went on to complete a master’s degree in American history with a public history focus

    Lessons in disaster

    I use the study of natural disasters to teach important lessons about the nature of government, policy-making, and American culture.

    Faculty Spotlights

    Wondering who else you can learn from — and who will support and challenge you? Check out Faculty Spotlights.