Robert H. Clemm

Associate Professor
All FacultyHistory

Contact Information
Phone: 724-458-3880

Robert H. Clemm

What is your educational background?

  • Ph.D. History, The Ohio State University, 2012
  • M.A. History, The Ohio State University , 2009
  • B.A. (Magna Cum Laude), Dual Degree in History and Political Science, University of Rochester, 2005

What are the main focuses of your research?

Military history, especially the 19th and 20th centuries, with a focus on European warfare and imperialism in Africa along with a particular focus on cartography.

What specific courses or specialties do you teach?

In addition to my work in the humanities core, I teach Foundations of History which I especially enjoy as it is an opportunity to expose non-majors to the discipline to which I’ve dedicated my life.

Within the department, I teach Modern Europe and Modern Africa and enjoy how both courses shake comfortable assumptions students make about the history of each of these continents. I am especially proud of the courses I have developed in line with my background in military history as well as my general historiographical interests.

I also have a love for historiography which I am able to exemplify in our sophomore-level historiography course. In my course we not only trace the development of the discipline but explore the varied methodologies and approaches by historians in assessing the outbreak of the First World War. I find the question of “inevitability” to be a fascinating one to explore with students while covering the major works on this subject. In that same historiographical vein I also developed a course on counterfactual (“What if?”) history. Students not only explore the historical roots of these studies but also the methodological approaches involved while crafting their own counterfactual papers.

What is the most important piece of advice you give your students to help them succeed?

My greatest advice would be to seek wisdom and counsel from your professors. All too often, students believe that they must be an island and that if they admit they are confused, they have somehow failed. I think college is the first of many opportunities for students to learn just how much knowledge is gained through being a part of, and being disciplined by, a greater community. Some of the best advice I received in graduate school came from talking with my fellow students, while some of my best moments of teaching at Grove City College have come in talking privately with a student in the hallway before class.

As a Christian, my advice is to humbly seek after knowledge and do so with the firm knowledge that whatever God’s plan may be after school that, at least for the next four years, they should pursue their studies with Colossians 3:23 at the forefront of their mind.

Selected Publications

  • “The Uganda Railway and the Fabrication of Kenya,” in Technology, Violence, and War: Essays in Honor of John F. Guilmartin, Jr. (Forthcoming).
  • Various entries in the following encyclopedias: Encyclopedia of African Colonial Conflicts, Encyclopedia of the Middle East Wars, United States at War.

Is there any additional personal experience you would like to share?

I believe the old “icebreaker” is two truths and a lie? Let’s make it three truths and a lie, and you can always stop by my office to find out which is which:

  • I learned to waterski in Alaska.
  • I have personally met a Pope and a Vice President.
  • I have “flown” in a USAF flight simulator.
  • I have visited Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Italy.