Stephen M. Miller

Stephen M. Miller, Ph.D., FRHistS
Adelaide & Alan Bird Professor and History Department Chair, University of Maine

Education:
Ph.D., University of Connecticut, 1996
M.A., New York University, 1989
B.A., Tufts University, 1987

Courses regularly taught:
HTY 106: Modern Europe
HTY 279: European Military History
HTY 449: History of South Africa
HTY 450: History of the British Empire
HTY 456: History of Great Britain II
HTY 498: Senior Seminar: European History
HTY 519: Modern Britain and Empire
HTY 550: Readings on British Military History
HTY 550: Readings on Modern Britain and Empire
HTY 611:  Research Seminar – Military History

My research focuses on the British Army and the South African War.  A recent article co-written with Jessica P. Miller, Professor of Philosophy, University of Maine, explores The Hague Convention and the rules of war (jus in bello) as they were applied (or ignored) by the British during their campaigns in the Orange Free State and Transvaal.  It is available online and appeared in paper in Spring 2019 in War in History.

A second article was published by War and Society also in Spring 2019.  It investigates British surrenders during the South African War.  There were nearly 1,000 separate instances of surrender which involved more than 14,000 men and yet little has been written about these cases.

And a third article, published by the South African Historical Journal, also came out in Spring 2019.  It looks at Edgar Wallace’s career in South Africa.  Wallace is best known for writing King Kong and Sanders of the River.  He got his start in South Africa as a journalist and covered some of the significant events of the War.

I just finished editing a book entitled, Queen Victoria’s Wars:  British Military Campaigns, 1857-1902.  The project updates the research and historiography of thirteen of the most significant British conflicts during this period.   It includes chapters on wars fought in the hills, on the veldt, in the dense forests, and along the coast.  It discusses wars waged in China, Burma, Afghanistan, and India/Pakistan; New Zealand; and, West, East, and South Africa.  Attention is paid not just to the British but also to the enemy they engaged.  Contributors include some of today’s leading military historians.  The book will be published by Cambridge University Press and will appear in July 2021.

Finally, I have just completed a book manuscript for Palgrave-Macmillan entitled George White and the Victorian Army in India and Africa which investigates the career of Field-Marshal George S. White.  It explores late Victorian military conflicts, British power relations in Africa and in Asia, networks of advancement in the British army, and popular attitudes of the army.  The book is largely based on White’s personal papers held by the India Office, which have been almost completely overlooked by historians.

White’s career was quite remarkable.  Commissioned into the British Army in 1853, he served in the Indian Rebellion and, twenty years later, the Second Anglo-Afghan War, where he was decorated with Great Britain’s highest military honor, the Victoria Cross, for gallantry in action.  After serving in the Sudan campaign, White returned to India, where he solidified his reputation, eventually rising to the position of Commander-in-Chief.  During those years he commanded field forces in Upper Burma (Myanmar) and Balochistan, sent expeditions to the North-West Frontier, and oversaw the end of the Presidency Armies.  In 1899, White commanded the Natal Field Force during the South African War.  This force was besieged for 118 days in the town of Ladysmith.  Despite continuous Boer shelling, dysentery and enteric fever, and lack of supplies, White managed to maintain the force and the civilian population in good order until its liberation.  He was promoted to Field-Marshal in 1903 while serving as Governor of Gibraltar.

For a not too old UMaine story about what I research, see click here.

Publications:

o Queen Victoria’s Wars:  British Military Campaigns, 1857-1902, ed. (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2021).

o George White and the Victorian Army in India and Africa (Basingstoke, UK:  Palgrave-Macmillan, 2020).

o “Edgar Wallace’s War:  Reporting and Making the News in South Africa, 1898-1902,” South African Historical Journal 71 1(2019):  21-40.

o “British Surrenders and the South African War, 1899-1902,” War and Society 38 2(2019):  98-114.

o “Moral and Legal Prohibitions Against Pillage in the Context of the 1899 Hague Convention and the South African War,” co-authored with Jessica P. Miller, War in History 26 2(2019):  185-203.

o “Boer Wars,” Oxford Bibliographies in Military History, ed. Dennis Showalter (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016; Revised in 2019).

o “The British Way of War: Cultural Assumptions and Practices in the South African War, 1899-1902,” Journal of Military History 77 4 (October 2013): 1329-1347.

o “The South African War,” in I.F.W. Beckett, ed., Citizen Soldiers and Empire:  The Amateur Military Tradition in the British Empire, 1837-1902 (London:  Pickering & Chatto, 2012).30141

o “British and Imperial Volunteers in the South African War,” in Sonja Levsen and Christine Krueger, eds., War Volunteering in Modern Times (London:  Palgrave, 2011).

o “Duty or Crime?  Defining Acceptable Behavior in the British Army in South Africa, 1899-1902,” Journal of British Studies 49 2 (April 2010): 311-331.

o Soldiers and Settlers in Africa, 1850-1918, ed. (Leiden: Brill, 2009).

o “Sir Redvers Buller,” in Steven Corvi and I.F.W. Beckett, eds., Victoria’s Generals (London:  Pen and Sword Books, 2009).

o Volunteers on the Veld: Britain’s Citizen-Soldiers and the South African War 1899-1902 (Norman OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007).

Veldo “Fighting the Other Enemy: Boredom, Drudgery, and Restlessness on the South African Veld, 1900-1902,” Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, Special Pub. No. 16 (2007): 75-88.

o “Slogging Across the Veld: British Volunteers and the Guerrilla Phase of the South African War,” Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research 84 (2006): 158-174.

o “In Support of the ‘Imperial Mission’? Volunteering for the South African War,” Journal of Military History 69 3 (2005): 691-713.

o Lord Methuen and the British Army: Failure and Redemption in South Africa (London: Frank Cass & Co., 1999).

9780714644608o “Lord Methuen and the British Advance to the Modder River,” Military History Journal (Johannesburg) 10, no. 4 (1996): 121-36. (Awarded the Roderick Murchison Memorial Prize by the South African Military Historical Society).

 

Interviews:

“The South African War,” Supplemental Video to Criterion’s production of Bruce Beresford’s Breaker Morant, 2015.

 

Recent Book Reviews:

o “General Lord Rawlinson:  From Tragedy to Triumph,” by Rodney Atwood, Journal of Military History 84: 1 (2020):  301-2.

o “Last Outpost on the Zulu Frontiers: Fort Napier and the British Imperial Garrison” by Graham Dominy, American Historical Review 122:2 (2017):  617-618.

o “Four-War Boer: The Century and Life of Pieter Arnoldus Krueler” by Colin D. Heaton and Anne-Marie Lewis, Journal of African History 57:1 (2016): 157-158.

o “Charlie’s First War: South Africa, 1899-1900” by C.H. Tweddell, ed. by Carman Miller, Journal of Military History 79:2 (2015): 501-502.

o “Zulu Warriors:  The Battle for the South African Frontier” by John Laband, The American Historical Review 120:3 (2015): 1156-1157.

o “Remembering the South African War:  Britain and the Memory of the Anglo-Boer War, from 1899 to the Present” by Peter Donaldson, Journal of Military History 78:2 (2014): 793-794.

o “Slaves of Fortune:  Sudanese Soldiers & the River War 1896-1898by Ronald M. Lamothe, Journal of African History 53:2 (2012): 273-275.

o “Roberts & Kitchener in South Africa 1900-1902” by Rodney Atwood, Journal of Military History 76:3 (2012): 889-890.

o “Going to War: British Debates from Wilberforce to Blair” by Philip Towle, Journal of Military History 75:4 (2011): 1291-1292.

o “Distant Drums:  The Role of Colonies in British Imperial Warfare” by Ashley Jackson, Journal of Military History 74:3 (2010): 947-8.

o “Red Coat Dreaming:  How Colonial Australia Embraced the British Army” by Craig Wilcox, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research 88:356 (2010): 346-347.

o “Historical Dictionary of the Anglo-Boer War” by Fransjohan Pretorius, Journal of Military History 74:1 (2010): 261-262.

 

Recent Presentations:

o “Edgar Wallace’s War:  Reporting the Battle of Vlakfontein,” Re-imagining the Anglo-Boer (South African) War: New perspectives 120 years down the line, War Museum of the Boer Republics, Bloemfontein, October 2019.

o “British Surrendering and the South African War, 1899-1902,” Britain and the World Conference, University of Exeter, June 2018.

o “The Hague Convention and the South African War,” with Jessica P. Miller, Britain and the World Conference, London, June 2016.

o Chair, The Society for Military History’s Presidential Panel hosted by the Society for Army Historical Research, “Setting New Borders in British Army History,” Society for Military History, Annual Meeting, Ottawa, April 2016.

o Comment, “Imperial Engagements: The Late Nineteenth to the Late Twentieth Century,” New England Conference on British Studies, Bates College, Lewiston ME, October 2014.

o Comment, “Politics on the Frontier,” Society for Military History, Annual Meeting, Washington DC, May 2012.

o “The Impact of Victorian Stereotyping on Strategy and Practice in the South African War, 1899-1902,” North American Conference on British Studies, Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado, November 2011.

o “The British Way of War:  Cultural Assumptions and Practices in the South African War, 1899-1902,” Society for Military History, Annual Meeting, Lisle, Illinois, June 2011.

o Comment, Military Frontiers: A Graduate Symposium – Border Crossings, Mershon Center for International Security Studies, Ohio State University, May 12-14, 2011.

o “British Volunteers and the Anglo-Boer War,” Anglo-Boer War 110th Anniversary Conference, Ladysmith, KwaZuluNatal, South Africa, January 25-27, 2010.