Diane Mutti Burke


Diane Mutti Burke is a Professor of History and a member of the Associate Faculty of the Women’s 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 and currently serves as a Co-Director for UMKC’s Center for Digital and Public Humanities. Her scholarship focuses on the nineteenth-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. In addition, she has co-edited three collections of scholarly articles on Kansas City and the Missouri/Kansas border region: Kansas City, America’s Crossroads, co-edited with John Herron (State Historical Society of Missouri, 2007); Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long Civil War on the Border, co-edited with Jonathan Earle (University Press of Kansas, 2013); and Wide Open Town: Kansas City during the Pendergast Era, co-edited with John Herron and Jason Roe (University Press of Kansas, 2018). The articles in the Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri and Wide Open Town collections were the product of major public conferences at the Kansas City Public Library in 2011 and 2016. Dr. Mutti Burke is currently completing an edited and annotated diary of a small-slaveholding Cooper County, Missouri woman named Paulina Stratton and working 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 has directed National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops (Summers 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2017, and 2021). This program brings K-12 teachers from around the country to Kansas City for a week to visit historic sites and learn about the history of this region.


Phone: (816) 235-6118 x.5

Email: muttiburked@umkc.edu

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