Dr. Shannon M. Risk

Photo Credit: Doves Portrait Design

Dr. Shannon M. Risk

Associate Professor of History; Director, Public History Minor; Director, Women's Studies Minor; Fulbright Campus Program Advisor



Dr. Risk joined the History Department faculty in 2009. She earned her B.A. in history from the University of Northern Iowa, her home state, where she held internships at the Grout Museum of History and Science, and in Washington, D.C., at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution.  She earned her M.A. in history from the University of Maine. From there, Risk embarked on a museum career, working as curator and manager at a number of institutions including the American Airlines C. R. Smith Museum, the San Francisco Airport Museums, the Susan B. Anthony House, and the Putnam History Museum. Risk headed back to Maine in 2005 to complete her Ph.D. in American History, focusing on a comparative history of the women’s suffrage movements of Maine and New Brunswick, and on a larger scale between Canada and the United States. Risk also earned a graduate concentration certificate in women’s studies at the University of Maine in 2007. She was awarded a Canadian-U.S. Fulbright Fellow Award for the 2008-2009 academic year to study at the University of New Brunswick. In the Ph.D. program, Risk’s fields included American history and politics, Canadian history, women’s studies, and New England history. Her academic advisors were Marli F. Weiner, Richard Judd, Scott See, Mazie Hough, Amy Fried, and Carol Nordstrom Toner.


Risk’s published articles can be found in The American Review of Canadian Studies, The Hudson River Valley Review, the Journal of East Tennessee History, Maine History, Nebraska History, and in several compilations, including Making Up the State: Women in Twentieth-Century Atlantic Canada, edited by Janet Guildford and Suzanne Morton, “Women’s Suffrage and Beyond: Confronting the Democratic Deficit,” an online site edited by Veronica Strong-Boag, Genevieve LeBaron, and Kelly Christensen, and two chapters in Conflicts in American History: A Documentary Encyclopedia, edited by C. Brid Nicholson. Her book reviews appear in Maine History, The Michigan Historical Review, Political Science Quarterly, and The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society.  She also conducts peer reviews of articles by invitation.


Dr. Risk has presented her works, as well as moderated and chaired panels at many conferences and institutions, some of which include the National Women’s Studies Association, the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States, the Fulbright Association, the Crossing Borders Conference, the Niagara University Women’s Empowerment Series, the Castellani Art Museum, the New York State Political Science Association, and the Maine Humanities Conference. She also appeared as an historian in the third season of “Who Do You Think You Are” with actress Helen Hunt.


Courses offered by Dr. Risk include American history surveys and departmental courses, progressive, utopian, women’s, Canadian, and Latin American history, as well as Introduction to Public History. She often serves as chair or committee member for honors theses and works with graduate students in independent studies. Risk directs the public history and women’s studies minors and serves as academic advisor for the History Forum, the student history club on campus, and Women Rock! a group of students from all backgrounds interested in performing community service. Risk advises Fulbright applicants on the Niagara University campus. She organizes Women’s History Month events, serves on the Buffalo Humanities Conference planning committee, and serves as an AP exam reader for United States History.