KSC Alumnus Serves as Professor at UNC Charlotte and Editor of BLM Essays
When Chris Cameron ’06 earned his GED in 2001, and went on to study at a community college in 2002, he didn’t know yet that the subject of history would be a part of his future. Chris was driven to try new things and to continue his learning, so he transferred to Keene State College in 2004. Today, he is the youngest full professor in the department of history at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He also received a 2020-2021 fellowship from American Council of Learned Societies to publish a book about African American Unitarian Universalists, titled, Liberal Religion and Race in America.
“In 2004 I decided to transfer to Keene State because I could tell it was a place where I could keep moving forward. I felt welcome, and it was an affordable option for me. I am glad that I chose Keene State because my experiences with professors there helped me figure out what I really wanted to do after my graduation,” said Chris.
Classes that Chris took with history faculty Dr. Crocker and Dr. Knouff were life-changing for him. He found that his ideas and opinions mattered in the classroom, and that class is more than receiving knowledge. “I felt like I actually had a voice, and that I could come up with my own historical arguments, just like any other scholar. Professor Knouff encouraged me to consider graduate school, because of the promise he saw in my work, and my interests. I am grateful for the attention and guidance I received, which helped to bring me where I am today.”
Chris said that having the opportunity to take classes on different topics was also important to his experience at Keene State. “The benefit of attending a liberal arts school is that you can take classes about topics that are new to you. I took an Art History class that opened me up to new ideas. My advice for students is to be open to changing your mind about your major, and be open to the opportunities that Keene State offers to you because you never know what you’ll learn. My Art History class was discussion-based, even though it was one of the larger classes I attended. This discussion-based lecture style influenced me, and I use it now in my own lectures at UNC.”
When asked about career opportunities that are available with a history degree, Chris said there are more ways to apply a history degree than most people know. “When you study history, you learn to critically analyze text and ideas, and you need to effectively verbalize ideas, and learn to be a clear and proficient writer. The skills that a history major fosters are useful in many professions. For example, many history graduates at UNC work as financial analysts. There are more opportunities beyond teaching, though teaching is my passion.”
As co-editor, Chris is about to publish a first-ever collection of essays that focuses on the role of religion in the Black Lives Matter movement, titled, Race, Religion, and Black Lives Matter: Essays on a Moment and a Movement. The project started in 2017 when he met a blogger and fellow scholar from the College of Biblical Studies in Houston, named Philip Luke Sinitiere. Chris said, “Black Lives Matter is often portrayed as a wholly secular movement. We wanted to give a fuller picture of Black Lives Matter because religion is important among the founders of the movement.” The collection of 11 essays will be published by Vanderbilt University Press in September 2021. It will be available for purchase from major retailers, such as Amazon.com, later this year.