Kenneth Swope

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies; The Blount Professor of Military History, 2015-2017

NOTE: Dr. Swope will be on sabbatical for the Fall 2015 term.


A member of the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society, Kenneth Swope received his undergraduate degree from the College of Wooster (OH) and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.  Prior to teaching at USM, he taught at Marist College and Ball State University.  His research interests encompass the military, social, political, and diplomatic history of early modern East Asia.  His first monograph, A Dragon’s Head and A Serpent’s Tail: Ming China and the First Great East Asian War, 1592-1598, offered a revisionist look at the controversial reign of the Ming Emperor Wanli (r. 1573-1620) and provided a new perspective on the most important military conflict in sixteenth-century Asia.  His most recent book, The Military Collapse of China’s Ming Dynasty, 1618-1644, makes use of recently published primary source materials to tell the story of the tragic demise of imperial China’s last native ruling house and was featured on the podcast “New Books in Military History” and named a Choice Outstanding Academic title.  He has also published dozens of articles, book reviews and chapters in edited collections and presented his scholarship at conferences all over the world.  He serves as the book review editor for The Journal of Chinese Military History and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Chinese Military History Society.  

Dr. Swope has lived in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China and conducted research all over East Asia.  He is currently researching and writing On The Trail of the Yellow Tiger: War, Trauma and Social Dislocation in Southwest China During the Ming-Qing Transition, which is scheduled by be published by the University of Nebraska Press.  Professor Swope teaches courses in Asian history, world history, military history and the history of baseball.  He is also a lifelong sports fan and faithful supporter of the hapless Cleveland Indians, Browns, and Cavaliers. 

Curriculum Vitae