Prof. John B. Boles


John B. Boles, the William Pettus Hobby Professor of History at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and editor of the Journal of Southern History, received his undergraduate training at Rice (BA, 1965) and his doctorate from the University of Virginia (PhD, 1969), where he was a Thomas Jefferson Foundation Fellow and a Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellow.


Research & Teaching

He is the author of ten books, including The Great Revival, 1787–1805: Origins of the Southern Evangelical Mind (1972); Religion in Antebellum Kentucky (1976); Black Southerners, 1619–1869 (1983); The Irony of Southern Religion (1994); The South Through Time: A History of an American Region (1995; 3rd ed., 2004), and University Builder: Edgar Odell Lovett and the Founding of the Rice Institute (2007), and he is the editor or coeditor of eleven other books, including Interpreting Southern History (1987), Masters and Slaves in the House of the Lord: Race and Religion in the American South (1988); and A Companion to the American South (2002).

It is of note that E. O. Lovett, the subject of Prof. Boles’s most recent book, received his doctorate in mathematics from the University of Leipzig in 1896. Prof. Boles has also written many reviews and articles and spoken widely on history, editing, and teaching; in addition, he directs a large graduate training program in southern history at Rice.

During the spring semester of 2000 he held the Robert Foster Cherry Distinguished Teaching Professorship at Baylor University, and in the winter of 2005–2006 he held the Fulbright-Leipzig Chair in American Studies at the University of Leipzig. He has been appointed the Leibniz Professor at the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Leipzig, for the winter semester, 2009–2010. He will offer two courses, “Slavery and the American South” and “Race and Religion in the American South.” He will also present a public address entitled “New Orleans: Past, Present, Future.” 


Selected Publications

  • University Builder: Edgar Odell Lovett and the Founding of the Rice Institute (LSU Press, 2007)

  • Companion to the American South (Blackwell, 2007)

  • The South Through Time: A History of an American Region, rev. (Prentice Hall, 2004).

  • A University So Conceived: A Brief History of Rice, rev. (Rice University Press, 1997).

  • The Irony of Southern Religion (Peter Lang, 1994).


Selected Honors, Awards, Distinctions

In 1991 he was awarded the Meritorious Service Award by the Association of Rice University Alumni and in 2004 he received their Distinguished Alumni Award; in 1994 and 2004 he received the Graduate Student Association Teaching Award. He won the Presidential Mentoring Award in 2006 and the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching in 2007 and 2009.