Kenneth L. Campbell, Ph.D.
A specialist in the history of the British Isles and a past recipient of Monmouth’s Distinguished Teacher Award, Professor Campbell is the author of A History of the British Isles: Prehistory to the Present (2017), named by the American Library Association a Choice Outstanding Academic title. Professor Campbell’s other books include Ireland’s History: Prehistory to the Present (2014), Windows into Men’s Souls: Religious Nonconformity in Tudor and Early Stuart England (2012), Western Civilization: A Global and Comparative Approach, Volume I: To 1715 and Volume II: Since 1600 (2012), and The Intellectual Struggle of the English Papists in the Seventeenth Century (1986). He has also published a two-volume anthology, Western Civilization in a Global Context (Volume I: Prehistory to the Enlightenment: Sources and Documents; Volume II: The Modern Age: Sources and Documents (2015) and an anthology on
American Popular Culture and the Beatles. His most recent book, September 2021, is titled The Beatles and the 1960s: Reception, Revolution, and Social Change.
Recent publications include:
“The Beatles: Today…and Tomorrow” in The Act You’ve Known for All These Years: Fandom and the Beatles, edited by Kenneth Womack and Kit O’Toole. Oxford University Press, 2021.
“Democracy in Western Europe” in Democracy in Crisis around the World, edited by Saliba Sarsar and Rekha Datta, Lexington Books, 2020.
“Love, Love, Love: Tracing the Contours of the Beatles’ Inner Circle,” in The Beatles in Context, edited by Kenneth Womack, Cambridge University Press, 2020.
“The Beatles at Woodstock,” Popular Music and Society, 43, 2, December 2019.
“You Say You Want a Revolution’: The Beatles and the Political Culture of the 1960s” in Roll Up for the Mystery Tour!: The Beatles, Sgt, Pepper, and the Summer of Love, edited by Kenneth Womack, Lexington Books, 2017.
“The Religious Sensibility of Paul McCartney,” in Speaking Words of Wisdom: The Beatles and Religion, edited by Michael McGowan. [Forthcoming, Penn State University Press]
His new book, The Beatles and the 1960s: Reception, Revolution, and Social Change is available for preorder from Bloomsbury Press and is scheduled for release in September.
Ph.D., University of Delaware
The Beatles and the 1960s: Reception, Revolution, and Social Change.
This is essential reading for anyone looking for an accessible yet rigorous study of the historical relevance of the Beatles in a crucial decade of social change.
The Beatles are widely regarded as the foremost and most influential music band in history and their career has been the subject of many biographies. Yet the band’s historical significance has not received sustained academic treatment to date. In The Beatles’ Reception in the 1960s, Kenneth L. Campbell uses the Beatles as a lens through which to explore the sweeping, panoramic history of the social, cultural and political transformations that occurred in the 1960s. It draws on audience reception theory and untapped primary source material, including student newspapers, to understand how listeners would have interpreted the Beatles’ songs and albums not only in Britain and the United States, but also globally.
Taking a year-by-year approach, each chapter analyses the external influences the Beatles absorbed, consciously or unconsciously, from the culture surrounding them. Some key topics include race relations, gender dynamics, political and cultural upheavals, the Vietnam War and the evolution of rock music and popular culture. The book will also address the resurgence of the Beatles’ popularity in the 1980s, as well as the relevance of The Beatles’ ideals of revolutionary change to our present day.
American Popular Culture and the Beatles
Through engaging scholarly essays written by various authors, American Popular Culture and the Beatles illuminates the synergetic relationship between American popular culture of the 1950s and 1960s and the iconic rock band The Beatles.
In Part I of the collection, students learn how the emergence of rock and roll in the United States brought about a cultural and musical shift that paved the way for The Beatles. Thought-provoking essays explore why teenagers were so drawn to rock and roll, how American performers elevated the rock and roll genre, and how American music provided a strong foundation for the creation of The Beatles.
Part II examines the impact of American rock and roll on Britain in the 1960s, with special emphasis on the appropriation of American music by British artists. Dedicated readings explore the evolving attitudes toward the American South via musical trends, the emergence of skiffle music, and how British rock and rollers also paved the way for The Beatles.
The final part explores the influence The Beatles had on American popular culture, speaking to the band’s meteoric and unexpected rise to fame, the hysteria and obsession that fueled Beatlemania, and the group’s relationship to counterculture and the revolutionary ideals of the late 1960s.
American Popular Culture and the Beatles is an ideal textbook for courses in music history and popular culture. Preview a copy here.
A History of the British Isles: Prehistory to the present
A History of the British Isles is a balanced and integrated political, social, cultural and religious history of the British Isles in all its complexity, exploring the constantly evolving dialogue and relationship between the past and the present.
“This is a bold book in its chronological range and synoptic vision. Kenneth Campbell has an outsider’s penetrating eye in exploring, century on century, the complex ways in which Britain and Ireland have evolved. There could be no better time than the present to study this guide to their past.” – Keith Robbins, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Wales-Lampeter, UK
“Kenneth Campbell’s A History of the British Isles: Prehistory to Present draws upon the latest scholarship to provide a lively narrative that embeds political developments in a rich cultural and social context. Its accessible prose and comprehensive scope will make it valuable as a text for both introductory and more advanced surveys of British history.” – Gail Savage, Professor of History, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, USA“In this compelling survey of the British Isles from prehistory to the present, Kenneth Campbell skillfully blends narrative and analysis in a satisfying synthesis. His scholarship is fresh and up to date, his conclusions are judicious and his writing is crystal clear. The book will serve as an invaluable introduction for undergraduates, a useful aid for teachers and an engaging text for general readers.” – Brian Lewis, Professor of History, McGill University, Canada
Western Civilization in a Global Context is a source collection that introduces a comparative element to the study of Western civilization, offering students an opportunity to explore non-Western perspectives. An interesting and provocative set of readings are included, from a range of primary sources, including official documents, historical writings, literary sources, letters, speeches, interviews as well as visual sources. These different sources are carefully selected with a view to generating class discussion and to provide students with a sense of the different approaches historians might take to understanding the past.
Volume I covers prehistory to the Enlightenment, including sources that offer insight into the political, social, religious, cultural and intellectual history of this period. Topics covered include:
– The Rise of Rome
– Byzantine Civilization
– The Renaissance in Europe and China
– Religious Reformation
– European Expansion
– The Scientific Revolution
“Campbell’s Western Civilization in Global Context provides a useful variety of written and visual primary sources, which are suitable for introductory courses on Western Civilization and the relations of the West with the wider world. Particularly valuable, and what makes this volume novel, is the inclusion in most chapters of a non-Western source for easy comparison with Western and Middle Eastern sources. The brief introductions and study questions give just the right balance of guidance and freedom, making this collection useful in a variety of classroom settings.” ― Winston Black, Assumption College, USA
“At its best, Western Civilization in a Global Context expertly links events, traditions, and developments in the West with similar historical processes in other parts of the world. The introduction provides students with a clear explanation of why studying primary sources is useful as well as the value of comparing these sources with those of other regions. Each chapter begins with introductory text that concisely provides the background needed to understand the document and closes with questions that could provide a foundation for class discussions or written responses. The most effective chapters, such as Chapter 15’s discussion of absolutism, link documents from the West and elsewhere with a specific common thread. Students are encouraged to draw interesting comparisons and consider the motivation of authors in the review questions at the end of each chapter. The best of these help students identify salient points while developing critical thinking skills. This collection would be a valuable addition to any Western Civilization course that endeavors to place the West in a broader global context.” ― Aaron Whelchel, Washington State University Vancouver, USA
Volume II covers the modern period, from the Enlightenment to the 21st century, including sources that help gain insight into the political, social, religious, cultural and intellectual history of this period. Topics covered include:
– The American and French Revolutions
– The Age of Nationalism
– The New Imperialism
– Two World Wars and the Interwar Crisis
– The Cold War
“Understanding our increasingly globalized and interconnected world requires students to make comparisons-across time and between peoples, cultures, regions, and countries. The story of Western Civilization remains vital and fascinating, and Ken Campbell makes it vastly more relevant and enlightening by partially breaching the artificial barriers between the Western Civ, United States, and world history surveys. Insightful comparisons throughout and the inclusion of one or more well-chosen non-European sources per chapter help students see how all are interrelated and mutually influencing. Campbell’s introductions and questions are truly illuminating. This is an excellent sourcebook.” ― Jonathan Daly, Professor of History, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
“This volume offers a broad and well-chosen selection of primary source materials, placing the development of western civilization firmly within the context of global history. Ranging from familiar treatises to more idiosyncratic popular works, the textual and visual sources presented here provide comprehensive geographic and thematic coverage, with a chronological scope that extends into the early twenty-first century. Well-organized, with each chapter providing an accessible and insightful introductory overview, this volume should enable students to engage with the past in new and provocative ways.” ― Derek Hastings, Oakland University, USA
” Western Civilization in a Global Context provides a much needed resource for teachers who recognize that explaining the world today requires explaining the Western past – which can only be done in global context. That this book achieves.” ― Stephen Balch, Texas Tech University, USA
To aid student engagement and understanding, the book begins with a guide to using primary sources, includes questions for discussion throughout and concludes with a glossary of key terms. Western Civilization in a Global Context is the ideal companion for students who want to explore the contribution of non-Western cultures, and gain a more thorough understand the complex history of the world as a result.
“Campbell has produced a masterly synthesis of recent scholarship to present a balanced history of Ireland from pre-history to the present. His clear and vibrant writing style and nuanced interpretation of the past makes Ireland’s History both a “good read” and essential to an understanding of Ireland today” – Thomas Callahan, Jr., Professor of History, Rider University
“At last, a book that treats the whole of Irish history comprehensively and concisely. Every important topic, from ancient megaliths to the Celtic Tiger, is thoroughly covered with reference to the latest scholarship. Ireland’s History will be the core text of my Irish history classes from now on.” – Jennifer Paxton, Clinical Assistant Professor, The Catholic University of America
Praise for Western Civilization: A Global and Comparative Approach: Volume I: To 1715
“Kenneth Campbell, a professor of History at Monmouth University in New Jersey, has written an appealing, thoughtful, and much needed comparative history text, which would work well in any first-year college-level history course on Western Civilization. To fit 5,000 years of history into a scant 496 pages is an enormous (and perhaps impossible) task, yet Campbell convincingly succeeds in his synthesis, and he does so with elegance. The work is masterly and thought provoking, without lapsing into the encyclopedic blandness of many history textbooks.” – Matthew Maher, Metropolitan State University Denver, from Teaching History
and Western Civilization: A Global and Comparative Approach: Volume II: Since 1600.
“With a multitude of texts available, Kenneth Campbell offers a refreshing and new approach to his subject in Western Civilization: A Global and Comparative Approach. Campbell does not attempt to give the reader a laundry list of names, dates, and facts, but offers a narrative interpretation of what is both successful and what has failed in the past. The text guides the readers to where we are today, encouraging them to analyze past methodology while concurrently giving them the tools to informatively evaluate the collective “global future.”
The book is a pleasure to read with a clear and concise single-voice narrative that avoids academic jargon and exhibits a consistent writing style. It does not limit its focus to politics and the military, but offers a broader, balanced examination with the inclusion of social, cultural, intellectual, economic, and religious history… The author does a solid job of laying ideas and building blocks in early chapters that are revisited later in the text, leading to a continuity of facts.” – Toni Nicholas, Red Rocks Community College, from Teaching History
and for both volumes:
“This text holds particular appeal due to its excellent readability, context and coverage for today’s college history teacher. It stands out among the many textbook options for college instructors, and provides an excellent blend of social, political and cultural history with the historical context necessary to make the human story relevant.” – Jane Scimeca, Brookdale Community College
“This is an excellent exploration of early modern English religious nonconformity, scholarly yet accessible. It would make a great addition to any undergraduate or graduate course.” – Sharon Arnoult, Midwestern State University
This is a richly textured study of religious nonconformity and separatism in sixteenth and early seventeenth century England. The monograph explores the definition and development of religious identity as well as the contests over religious truth in England and internationally. Campbell analyzes early modern religious and political thought in the context of recent scholarly interpretation and debate in an engaging and accessible manner. His study will benefit early modern specialists as well as those new to the field. – Nicole Greenspan, Hampden-Sydney College
Past winner of the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
Frequently Taught Classes
- American Popular Culture and Beatles (PR 464)
- First Year Seminar (FY 101)
- Graduate Seminar in British History (HS 551)
- Graduate Seminar in European History (HS 541)
- Historical Criticism (HS 501)
- History Comprehensive Exam (HS CPE)
- History of Ireland (HS 253)
- History of the British Isles I (HS 251)
- History of the British Isles II (HS 252)
- Medieval Europe I (300-1400) (HS 243)
- Medieval Europe II (300-1400) (HS 244)
- Power and Enlightenment: Europe 1648-1789 (HS 437, HS 537)
- Readings and Research in History (HS 399, HS 499)
- Research Seminar in European History (HS 441)
- The Great Writings of History (HS 502)
- The Historical Novel (PR 471)
- The Philosophy of History (HS 502)
- The Reformation (HS 436, HS 536)
- The Renaissance (HS 435, HS 535)
- Tudor - Stuart England (HS 453)
- Tudor-Stuart England (HS 553)
- Western Civilization in World Perspective I (HS 101)
- Western Civilization in World Perspective II (HS 102)
- Witchcraft and Magic (PR 402)
Recently Taught Classes
- HS-251-01 - History of the British Isles I
- HS-499-CAM3 - Readings and Research in History
- HS-502-50 - The Philosophy of History
- HS-101-H3 - Western Civilization in World Perspective I
2021 Summer E
- PR-464-E50 - American Popular Culture and Beatles
- HS-102-E01 - Western Civilization in World Perspective II
- HS-690-CA3MC - History Master's Thesis
- HS-253-01 - History of Ireland
- HS-102-H2 - Western Civilization in World Perspective II
- PR-464-H1 - American Popular Culture and Beatles
- PR-464-01 - American Popular Culture and Beatles
- HS-436-50 - The Reformation
- HS-536-50 - The Reformation
- HS-101-H3 - Western Civilization in World Perspective I
- PR-464-50 - American Popular Culture and Beatles
- HS-398-01 - Special Topics in History (300 Level)
- HS-102-09 - Western Civilization in World Perspective II
- HS-551-50 - Graduate Seminar in British History
- FYHS-102-01 - The Beatles
- HS-101-H4 - Western Civilization in World Perspective I
2019 Summer E
- PR-464-E50 - American Popular Culture and Beatles
- HS-399-CAM3 - Readings and Research in History
- HS-102-E01 - Western Civilization in World Perspective II