Brian Frehner (he/him)

Brian Frehner (he/him)
Professor of History
Department Chair
Humanities and Social Sciences

Contact Info
203A Cockefair Hall
Oil; Energy; Environment; Technology; American West; Digital and Public Humanities


Brian Frehner is Chair and Professor of history at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he teaches and researches the topics of oil, environment, technology and the American West. He is currently at work on a monograph examining the transition from coal to oil in the first half of the twentieth century. Recently, he drew upon his interest in environmental history to publish an article on the history of BMX bicycle racing, suburbanization, and open space in the 1970s. He is the author of Finding Oil: The Nature of Petroleum Geology, 1859-1920 (2011) and co-editor of two volumes: Indians and Energy: Exploitation and Opportunity in the American Southwest (2010) and The Greater Plains: Rethinking a Region’s Environmental Histories (2021). He is an affiliated faculty member with UMKC's Center for Digital and Public Humanities



  • GECUE 204 - From Oil Gushers to Fracking: A History of American Petroleum
  • HISTORY 102 - U.S. History Since 1877
  • HISTORY 334 - History of Technology 
  • HISTORY 357 - The American West
  • HISTORY 365A - American Environmental History 
  • HISTORY 498WI - Senior Capstone


  • HISTORY 5534 - History of Technology 
  • HISTORY 5557 - The American West
  • HISTORY 5565 - American Environmental History 
  • HISTORY 5581GR - Introduction to Graduate Studies 
  • HISTORY 5587R - Research Seminar