Diane Mutti Burke


Diane Mutti Burke is an Associate Professor in the History Department and Affiliated Faculty of the Women and Gender Studies Program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She has served as the Director of the Center for Midwestern Studies since 2011. Her scholarship focuses on the 19th-century history of Missouri and the Missouri/Kansas border region. Her award-winning first book On Slavery’s Border: Missouri’s Small-Slaveholding Households, 1815-1865 (University of Georgia Press, 2010) is a bottom-up examination of how slavery and slaveholding were influenced by both the geography and the scale of the slaveholding enterprise. On Slavery’s Border focuses on the Missouri counties located along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to investigate small-scale slavery at the level of the household and neighborhood. She examines such topics as small slaveholders’ child-rearing and fiscal strategies, the economics of slavery, relations between slaves and owners, the challenges faced by enslaved families, sociability among enslaved and free Missourians within rural neighborhoods, and the disintegration of slavery during the Civil War.

Mutti Burke has written a number of articles about slavery, women, and the Civil War in Missouri. She co-edited, with her colleague John Herron, a collection of articles about Kansas City from the Missouri Historical Review called Kansas City, America’s Crossroads, as well as a new collection of scholarly articles on the Missouri-Kansas Border War called Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long Civil War on the Border, co-edited with Jonathan Earle (University Press of Kansas, 2013), which was named a 2014 Kansas Notable Book. The articles in this collection were the product of a major public conference on the Civil War on the border held at the Kansas City Public Library in November 2011. In addition, Dr. Mutti Burke is completing an edited and annotated diary of a small-slaveholding Cooper County, Missouri woman named Paulina Stratton and has started work on a monograph about refugee populations during the Civil War.

Mutti Burke is deeply engaged in bringing the history of this region to students and the public through her role as the Director of the Center for Midwestern Studies. She teaches a course on the Missouri-Kansas Border Wars and a regional history course at Watkins’ Mill State Historic Site. She also regularly speaks to public audiences and consults with cultural institutions in the region about their public programming. In addition, she directs a National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop on the UMKC campus (Summers 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014). This program brings 80 teachers from throughout the nation to attend the week-long classes on the Kansas and Missouri Border Wars.


Phone: (816) 235-1631


Amy Brost

Director of Programs and Development

Amy Brost serves as the Director of Programs and Development, handling the Center’s communications on programs and events and managing fundraising efforts. After earning a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri – Columbia, she worked in the publishing industry and in higher education. She completed graduate work in NonProfit Management at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC. She has also worked as a freelance designer and community volunteer with several organizations in Kansas City.


Phone: (816) 235-5842