Although Dr. Wayne Bowen is an accomplished author, professor, and Chair of the Department of History at Southeast Missouri State University, he does not look or act like what one might expect from a history professor. He is physically fit, has close-cropped hair, and carries himself with an obvious military bearing, all of which is undoubtedly a product of his many years as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. Indeed, Wayne is a veteran of deployments to both Bosnia and Iraq, and has risen to the rank of Lt. Col. Perhaps equally as interesting, he has also recently embarked on a successful career as an elected politician, currently serving as a city councilman in his hometown of Cape Girardeau, Mo. Moreover, he has done so unapologetically as a Republican, which is a rarity among academics in the humanities.
Dr. Florin Curta, Professor of History and Archaeology at the University of Florida, is one of the leading medieval historians in the world. His language capabilities, which include a reading knowledge of no less than eleven languages (including some he does not bother to list on his C.V.), are rarely matched even among academics. Moreover, his ten books, many on very complex historical issues, have consistently received positive reviews from his fellow historians with one winning the American Historical Associations’ Herbert Baxter Adams Prize in 2003. See links to his C.V. and publications here.
Yet while his academic background is exceptional, his personal background is (at least) equally fascinating. Dr. Curta grew up in Romania while it was under communist rule. As a young man he was drafted into the Romanian army where he served as a paratrooper. Once he was done jumping out of perfectly good airplanes with a rifle strapped to his back, he pursued his education in Romania as both a historian and archaeologist. One could suggest, only half jokingly, that he was the original Indiana Jones. Continue reading