Stephen Brain Selected as MSU Humanities Teacher of the Year

Stephen Brain Selected as MSU Humanities Teacher of the Year

STARKVILLE, Miss.—An associate professor of history and two-time recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Fellowship is Mississippi State’s 2016 Humanities Teacher of the Year.

The selection of Stephen Brain is being announced by the university’s College of Arts and Sciences, along with the Mississippi Humanities Council. As part of the honor, Brain will be recognized during the Mississippi Humanities Council’s awards ceremony in Jackson next February. Additionally, he will present the college’s annual humanities lecture next month.

Titled “Biospheres of Influence: The Creation of Artificial Environments in the Soviet Union and the United States,” his address begins at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday [Nov. 29] in the Shackouls Honors College Forum Room.

The event is free to all, as is a reception immediately following in the same fourth-floor Bryce Griffis Residence Hall location in the university’s Zacharias Village.

Along with formally presenting a topic of his choosing to members of the campus and surrounding communities, Brain is receiving a $300 honorarium.

A faculty member in the university’s Department of History since 2007, Brain has served as an assistant and associate professor. He has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses over the years, including ones on Russian, Soviet Union and European history.

“I am truly honored to be selected as the Humanities Teacher of the Year. Like my colleagues in the history department, teaching is very important to me, and it is very gratifying to be recognized for my efforts,” said Brain, who also serves as his department’s graduate program coordinator.

“Historians at Mississippi State are expected to focus their attention on publishing articles and books and the creation of new knowledge, and awards such as these demonstrate that the College of Arts and Sciences also recognizes the importance of teaching in good scholarship,” Brain added.

As a 2013-14 recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Fellowship, Brain traveled to Rostov-on-Don, Russia, where he and his family lived and worked 30 miles from the Ukraine border. In addition to teaching World Environmental History and Western Historiography courses, Brain conducted research on Russian agriculture and its relation to Russian history at Southern Federal University.

Specifically, Brain’s research focus while abroad involved the environmental influence of collectivism. For more, visit

In 2005-06, Brain was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Moscow, Russia, where he worked in the State Archive of the Russian Federation, Russian State Economic Archive, Moscow Oblast Regional Archives, and the Archive of the Communist Party.

A member of multiple professional organizations, Brain also is the author of “The Environmental History of the Soviet Union” in the textbook “A Companion to Global Environmental History” (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), as well as “Song of the Forest: Russian Forestry and Stalin’s Environmentalism” (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), among other published works.

After completing a bachelor of science in wildlife ecology in 1994, Brain went on to earn a master of arts in humanities from California State University in 2000. He earned his doctorate in history from the University of California-Berkeley in 2007. For more biographical information, visit

For more on Brain’s humanities lecture, contact Gretchen Crawford, academic programs assistant for the College of Arts and Sciences, at 662-325-2645 or

Learn more about MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences at; its Department of History at