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Kris Lawson

About Kris Lawson

Dr. Lawson joined the History faculty at PSU in 2009.

She teaches courses in U.S. History, the history of health and medicine, and research methods to undergraduate and graduate students. Her work with undergraduate students led to her recognition with the University’s “Outstanding Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentor Award” in 2014. At the M.A. level, she directs her students in researching social and cultural American history as well as 19th century science and medicine. She is the History programs coordinator and has served as a member of various University committees, including the Faculty Senate, Academic Affairs committee, and University Athletic Council. 

Her current research projects include:  

Mining for Health in the Tri-State Lead and Zinc District: Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri, 1920-1959, a social and cultural history that reveals the development of community ideas of health and healthcare.

World War II in Letters:  Dale and Katie Conner, a joint project with Dr. John L.S. Daley (PSU - History).  These World War II letters between two PSU alumni will form the basis of an edited reader appropriate for U.S. History general education classes as well as for a general interest audience.


  • Ph.D., University of Missouri, Missouri, U.S.A., April 2008.  Dissertation: Healing the Frontier:  Catholic Sisters, Hospitals, and Medicine Men in the Wisconsin Big Woods, 1880-1920

  • M.A., History, University of Missouri,Missouri, U.S.A., June 2001.  Thesis: Unmasking the Flirt:  Epidemic Influenza in Columbia, Missouri, 1918

  • B.A., History, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.A., June 1999, Highest Honors. Texas Teacher Certificate (Lifetime Certification, issued May, 1999): Secondary History and Social Studies. Composite (Grades 6-12), Secondary English and English Language Arts (Grades 6-12) 

Courses Taught

  • HIST 201:  American History to 1865
  • HIST 202:  American History from 1865
  • HIST 207:  Health Habits in American History
  • HIST 430:  History Theory and Practice
  • HIST 607:  American Medicine
  • HIST 608:  Women in American History
  • HIST 609:  American Children & Families
  • HIST 620:  History of the South
  • HIST 636:  Native American History
  • HIST 655:  Early American Republic
  • HIST 660:  Industrial America, 1865-1914
  • HIST 813:  Colonial US Social History
  • HIST 813:  19th Century US Social History
  • HIST 813:  History of American Medicine, 1783-1983

Publications and Presentations

Selected Presentations

  • "A Quiet and Guiding Hand: Welfare Capitalism and the Visiting Nurse, 1926-1949."  Southern Association of the History of Medicine and Science, March 2019
  • "Syphilis, Disability, and the Floating Female Population:  The Tri-State Lead & Zinc Mining District, 1927-1932."  Western Social Science Conference, April 2015
  • "Breathing Aluminum Dust for Health:  McIntyre Research Corporation and Hard Rock Miners in the Tri-State Mining Field, 1945-1854."  Southern Association for the History of Medicine and Science, March 2015
  • “The Birth of a Clinic:  Picher, Oklahoma, the Bureau of Mines, and Healthcare as Social Control.”  Phi Alpha Theta Biennial Convention, January 2012.
  • “The School Sisters of St. Francis and the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe:  Missions of Culture, Education, and Health.”  Rural Women’s Studies Association, September 2009.
  • “Gilded Age Healthcare and the ‘Good’ Doctor:  Joseph P. Cox and Northern Wisconsin.”  Mid-America Conference on History, September 2008.
  • “Healthcare as a Citizen’s Right:  Public Health at the Hayward Indian School, Wisconsin, 1901-1920.”  Midwest Junto for the History of Science, April 2008.
  • "Sacred Teas, a Sisters’ School, and an Indian Priest:  Modern Medicine and Holistic Healthcare on the Lac Court Oreilles Ojibwa Reservation, 1885-1920." Midwest Junto for the History of Science, April 2007.


Kris Lawson
Dr. Kris Lawson
Associate Professor of History/History Program Coordinator/Historical Methods; American Healthcare/Master Advisor

Phone: (620) 235-4319

Office: 308 Russ Hall

E-mail Kris Lawson