Stephen Douglas Carls is chair of the history department at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Carls began teaching at Union University in 1983, and before that, taught at Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas for twelve years. He is a specialist of modern France, the First World War, and Europe between the two world wars.
A member of Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society since 1970, Carls is currently the national president of the organization, a post he assumed at the end of the society’s biennial convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in January, 2014. Prior to that, he held the national positions of council member (2006-2008), advisory board member (2008-2012), and vice president (2012-2014). Phi Alpha Theta’s national office has given service awards to Carls twice for his dedication to the society. He has been the faculty advisor to Union University’s Delta-Psi chapter of Phi Alpha Theta since 1983.
Carls is a member of the American Historical Association, the Southern Historical Association, and the Society for French Historical Studies. From 1996 to 2008, he served as the faculty advisor for the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity at Union University.
Carls was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1944 to Ernest and Eleanor Carls. He is married to Alice-Catherine Maire. They have three children: Philip, Elizabeth, and Paul.
Carls wrote the preeminent book on the life of Louis Loucheur. Stephen Schuker of the University of Virginia called it "a superb biography of one of the most fascinating and forward-looking leaders of the Third Republic." "[Carls] offers a highly original and important contribution to the study of modernization in twentieth-century France." In this book called Louis Loucheur and the Shaping of Modern France Carls proposes that Loucheur, a World War I weapons manufacturer who turned to politics, was a first-generation technocrat and a major player in France’s postwar industrialization and modernization. An expanded version of the book was published in France under the title Louis Loucheur: Ingénieur, homme d’état, modernisateur de la France 1872-1931.
- Louis Loucheur and the Shaping of Modern France, 1916-1931. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1993.
- Louis Loucheur: Ingénieur, homme d’état, modernisateur de la France 1872-1931. Translated by Alice-Catherine Carls. Preface by Emmanuel Chadeau. Villeneuve d’Ascq : Presses universitaires du Septentrion, 2000.
- Louis Loucheur and the Shaping of Modern France, 1916-1931, Louisiana State University Press (1993).