Brianna Kirk

Office Hours: Mondays 3 - 5 pm

Field & Specialties

19th Century U.S.
U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction
Historical Memory
African American History
Gender History


M.A., University of Virginia, 2019
B.A., Gettysburg College, 2015


Brianna Kirk is a Ph.D. candidate in Civil War and Reconstruction history studying under the direction of Elizabeth Varon. Her work focuses on the Reconstruction era, with an emphasis on the immediate post-Civil War world. Her current research examines the intersections between military occupation and racial violence in Virginia and their implications for the broader policies of Reconstruction. 


Book Review, The Women's Fight: The Civil War's Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation by Thavolia Glymph (LSU'S Civil War Book Review, 2020). 

Book Review, A Yankee Regiment in Confederate Louisiana: The 31st Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in the Gulf South by Larry Lowenthal (H-NET, 2020).

Master's Thesis (University of Virginia): "'No Safety for Union Men': The Norfolk Race Riot of 1866 and Military Occupation" (2019).

Co-Author with Dr. John M. Coski, "What Am I To Do For A Living?" The American Civil War Museum Magazine (Summer 2017).

Co-Author with Dr. Allen C. Guelzo, "The Hancock-Walker Correspondence on Gettysburg," The Gettysburg Magazine vol. 56 (January 2017): 53-73.

Book Review, "With Malice Toward Some: Treason and Loyalty in the Civil War Era," Gettysburg College Journal of the Civil War Era (2015).

Current Research

Dissertation in Progress: "No Safety for Union Men: Norfolk during Virignia's Reconstruction, 1865-1870"

Awards & Honors

Research Assistant for companion book to Determined: 400 Years of African American History in Virginia, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond, VA (2020-2021)

Virginia Center for Civil War Studies Research Grant, Virginia Tech (2020-2021)

Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Summer Research Fellowship, University of Virginia (2020)

Andrew W. Mellon Research Fellowship, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond, VA (2020-2021)

Best Student Paper Award, The Virginia Forum (2019), for "'No Safety for Union Men': The Norfolk Race Riot of 1866 and Military Occupation"

Graduate Research Associate, Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition, Kentucky Historical Society (2018)

Courses Taught

HIUS 3161: Viewing America, 1940-1980 (with Prof. Brian Balogh, Spring 2021)
HIST 3452: The Second World War (with Prof. Philip Zelikow, Fall 2020)
HIUS 3171: US Since 1945: People, Politics, Power (with Prof. Sarah Milov, Spring 2020)
HIUS 3151: Modernizing, Moralizing, and Mass Politics: US, 1900-1945 (with Prof. Sarah Milov, Fall 2019)
HIUS 3051: The Age of Jefferson and Jackson, 1789-1845 (with Prof. Alan Taylor, Spring 2019)
HIUS 3071: The Coming of the Civil War (with Prof. Elizabeth Varon, Fall 2018)