Michael Gagnon

Dr. Michael Gagnon

Associate Professor of History

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Biography

Dr. Michael Gagnon is a graduate of Hall County public schools and served in the U.S. Navy as an enlisted person on a nuclear powered submarine. He has been teaching college history courses since 1993. He frequently helps organize and participate in scholarly conferences, and he regularly presents papers or comments on other scholars' papers at history conferences. He usually has several projects in development simultaneously, but most use local history to learn more about regional and national trends.

In teaching history at the college level, Gagnon pursues six general goals. First, he conveys sufficient information, organized as a narrative, so that students will remember it well after they leave college. Secondly, he regularly refers to historical themes found in current events in presenting the narrative to convince students that the study of history produces knowledge that is usable in the present. Thirdly, he introduces students to the analytical categories of race, class and gender to help make sense of history and of their own world. Fourthly, he seeks to introduce students to scholarly discussion within the historical field, so they will see the discipline of history as a process of inquiry rather than as a finite body of knowledge. Fifthly, he introduces them to the craft of historical research and takes the time within class to introduce historical research methods, using both traditional and online documents. And he rewards students for their fine work by taking some to present their research at conferences each year. Sixth and finally, he helps students to write well. He emphasizes how to organize an historical argument and how to use evidence to make a point. Gagnon's agenda in these six academic goals is to encourage students to think for themselves and to communicate what they think to others.

Education

  • Doctorate – history – Emory University
  • Master’s – history – Emory University
  • Bachelor’s – international politics – Georgetown University
  • Associate’s – political science – Gainesville Jr. College

Academic Interests

  • U.S. Southern history
  • Early American Republic
  • Industrial history
  • U.S. economic development and social history

Publications

  • Transition to an Industrial South: Athens, Georgia, 1830-1870. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 2012.
  • "Gwinnett County; A Bicentennial Celebration." Lawrenceville: Gwinnett Historical Society, 2017.