Board of Visitors
Valerie Paley is senior vice president and the Sue Ann Weinberg Director of the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library at the New-York Historical Society. Formerly the chief historian at the institution, she was founding director of its Center for Women’s History, the first such center in the United States within the walls of a major museum. A graduate of Vassar College, Paley holds an MA in American Studies and a PhD in History from Columbia University, where she serves on the adjunct faculty at the Columbia Center for American Studies. Her work at New-York Historical encompasses a critical range of curatorial, scholarly, and administrative responsibilities, including the development of a new joint MA Program in Museum Studies with the CUNY School of Professional Studies, which launched in fall 2019. Paley is the 2020 recipient of the American Historical Association’s Herbert Feis Award, recognizing distinguished contributions to the field of public history.
Ph.D. – Columbia University 2012
M.S. – Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism 2002
B.A. – Vassar College 1999
Interests and Research
Thai Jones studies radical social movements, New York City history, and Environmental History in the United States. He is the author of two books. The latest, More Powerful Than Dynamite: Radicals, Plutocrats, Progressives, and New York's Year of Anarchy (Bloomsbury, 2014 ), rediscovers a forgotten political crisis that roiled New York City in the early twentieth century. His first book, A Radical Line: From the Labor Movement to the Weather Underground, One Family's Century of Conscience (Free Press, 2004), explored his own family’s long history of political dissent against the backdrop of twentieth century social movements. He is currently working on Boomtown, a history of labor and the environment in Progressive Era gold-mining communities. Before becoming Lehman Curator, Jones was an assistant professor of history at the Bard College Master of Arts in Teaching Program. Formerly a reporter for Newsday, his writings have appeared in a variety of national publications, ranging from the New York Times to The Nation, to the Occupied Wall Street Journal.
B.A., Macalester College (2002); Ph.D., Yale University (2008). Shana L. Redmond (she|her) is Professor of English and Comparative Literature and the Center for the Study of Ethnicity & Race (CSER) at Columbia University. A writer and interdisciplinary scholar of race, culture, and power, she is the author of Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora (NYU Press, 2014) and Everything Man: The Form and Function of Paul Robeson (Duke UP, 2020), which received a 2021 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation with the special citation of the Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Award for Criticism. Named a “Best Book of 2020” by National Public Radio (NPR), Everything Man also received the 2022 Irving Lowens Book Award from the Society for American Music, 2021 Judy Tsou Critical Race Studies Award from the American Musicological Society, a 2020 Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Title, and finalist and honorable mention designations for the Sterling Stuckey Book Prize from the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora and the inaugural book prize of the Association for the Study of African American Life & History. In addition to being co-editor of and contributor to Critical Ethnic Studies: A Reader (Duke UP, 2016), she has published chapters, articles, and essays in outlets including The Futures of Black Radicalism, Current Musicology, Black Camera, Black Music Research Journal, Race & Class, and Brick: A Literary Journal as well as NPR, the BBC, Boston Review, and Mother Jones. Her work with artists includes the critical liner essay to the soundtrack vinyl release for Jordan Peele’s film Us (Waxwork Records, 2019) as well as the notes for String Quartets, Nos. 1-12 by Wadada Leo Smith (TUM Records, 2022). Redmond’s current projects include a study of Black music’s possible impossible and a forensic listening to Black life before mourning. She is co-editor of the University of California Press series “Phono: Black Music and the Global Imagination” and President of the American Studies Association (2022-2023).
Ryan Carr (Yale, 2016) teaches Indigenous Studies at the center, as well as classes on other topics in transatlantic cultural history. His current research focuses on the Native Northeast and on the intertwinement of settler colonialism with early ideas about secularism. His recent work appears in Critical Research on Religion, New England Quarterly, English Literary History, and other journals. His first book is on the Mohegan-Brothertown minister Samson Occom.
B.A. Kenyon, Ph.D. Johns Hopkins. Professor Posnock was Andrew Hilen Professor of American Literature at the University of Washington before teaching in the English department at New York University from 2000 to 2004. His books include Henry James and the Problem of Robert Browning (1985, University of Georgia Press); The Trial of Curiosity: Henry James, William James and the Challenge of Modernity (1991, Oxford UP); Color and Culture: Black Writers and the Making of the Modern Intellectual (1998, Harvard UP); The Cambridge Companion to Ralph Ellison (editor, 2005); Philip Roth's Rude Truth: The Art of Immaturity (2006, Princeton UP); Renunciation: Acts of Abandonment by Writers, Philosophers and Artists (2016, Harvard University Press). Renunciation was named a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year, 2016 and a Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2016, and was on the Shortlist for the 2017 Christian Gauss Award, The Phi Beta Kappa Society. From 1998 to 2017 he was series editor of Cambridge University Press Studies in American Literature and Culture and is a contributing editor of Raritan and American Literary History. In 1994 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2009 he was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is currently writing a book about American sophistication and the fear of art in the 1920s, 1950s and now.
Roosevelt Montás is Senior Lecturer in American Studies and English at Columbia University. He holds an A.B. (1995), an M.A. (1996), and a Ph.D. (2004) in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. He was Director of the Center for the Core Curriculum at Columbia College from 2008 to 2018. Roosevelt specializes in Antebellum American literature and culture, with a particular interest in American citizenship. His dissertation, Rethinking America: Abolitionism and the Antebellum Transformation of the Discourse of National Identity, won Columbia University’s 2004 Bancroft Award. In 2000, he received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Student. Roosevelt teaches “Introduction to Contemporary Civilization in the West,” a year-long course on primary texts in moral and political thought, as well as seminars in American Studies including “Freedom and Citizenship in the United States.” He is Director of the Center for American Studies’ Freedom and Citizenship Program in collaboration with the Double Discovery Center. He speaks and writes on the history, meaning, and future of liberal education and is author of Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation (Princeton University Press, 2021).
Roger Lehecka retired from a long career at Columbia University at the end of 2004. Among other positions he held at the University, he was Dean of Students for 19 years. He was a founder of Columbia's Upward Bound Program in 1965, an experience that taught him much about the ways access to college is not equally available to all talented youngsters. His three years with Upward Bound led to a career in higher education that always focused on expanding opportunity for those previously excluded from a college education. He remains involved at Columbia in a number of ways and has been teaching the Equity in Higher Education seminar with Prof. Delbanco annually since 2007. In 2015 he received the Heritage Award from Columbia's Black Alumni Council. Outside Columbia for the last two decades, Mr. Lehecka has helped low-income students from New York City, rural Pennsylvania, and both coasts of Florida get admitted to good colleges and find the financial aid to attend. He continues to advise them throughout college, wherever they enroll, and help them through the difficult times most students face. He was Chair of the Double Discovery Center Board of Friends 2019-22 and is currently Chair of the Board of the Lenfest Scholars Foundation. Mr. Lehecka attended New York City public schools before entering Columbia College. He has a Masters degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education as well as an A.B. and M.Phil. from Columbia University.
B.A., Columbia College, Physics (1961); Ph.D. Brandeis University, Biology (1966). Robert Pollack, Professor of Biological Sciences, joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1978. His laboratory research focused on the potential utility of stable reversion from the oncogenic phenotype. His teaching focuses on the application of knowledge of the natural world to problems that require decisions that cannot be based solely on such data-driven knowledge. He was a Postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Howard Green at NYU Medical Center from 1966-1969; a research scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1969-70; a senior scientist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory from 1970 to 1975; and an associate professor of microbiology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook from 1975 until he joined the faculty as a Professor in 1978. Until 1991 his NIH-supported laboratory research focused on elaboration of his discovery in 1968 that the clonal descendants of tumor cells include genetically stable revertant cells, capable of growing into normal populations in turn. Beginning in the late 1990s, after he had set aside lab work in order to write a series of books, he has been pleased to note that other laboratories have begun to apply his discovery to the development of novel forms of cancer chemotherapy. As a result, his early research continues to be referenced in current research articles. He received the Alexander Hamilton Medal from Columbia University, the Gershom Mendes Seixas Award from the Columbia/Barnard Hillel, and held a Guggenheim Fellowship. He presented the Schoff Lectures at Columbia in 1998, which led to his third book, The Faith of Biology and the Biology of Faith. He is the Director of the University Seminars and heads the Research Cluster on Science and Subjectivity in the Center for Science and Society.
Robert Amdur's areas of interest are political theory, constitutional law, and the history of American radical movements. In addition to being associate director of the Center for American Studies, Amdur is appointed to the Department of Political Science.
Richard R. John is a historian who specializes in the history of business, technology, communications, and American political development. He teaches and advises graduate students in Columbia’s Ph.D. program in communications, and is member of the core faculty of the Columbia history department, where he teaches courses on the history of capitalism and the history of communications. His publications include many essays, eight edited books, and two monographs: Spreading the News: The American Postal System from Franklin to Morse (1995) and Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications (2010). In addition, he has served for many years as the editor of the Hagley Library's monograph series on "Business, Technology, and Politics" that is published by Johns Hopkins University Press.
At Columbia, John has frequently taught Contemporary Civilization, and in Fall 2020, he co-taught (with journalist Matt Stoller) an American Studies seminar on "Inequality and Democracy."
John has been a fellow at the Newberry Library in Chicago and the Smithsonian Institution's Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D. C., and has served as a visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris, and has received a Guggenheim Foundation faculty fellowship. Among the institutions that have sponsored his research are the College of William and Mary, the American Antiquarian Society, and the National Endowment of the Humanities, which awarded him a faculty fellowship in 2008. Spreading the News received several national awards, including the Allan Nevins Prize from the Society of American Historians and the Herman E. Krooss Prize from the Business History Conference. Network Nation won the first Ralph Gomory Book Prize from the Business History Conference and was the 2010 Best Book in Journalism and Mass Communication History, an award bestowed by the History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. John is a former president of the Business History Conference, an international professional society dedicated to the study of institutional history.
Between 1977 and 1989, John earned a B.A. in social studies (magna cum laude), a M.A. in history and a Ph.D. in the history of American civilization, all from Harvard University.
B.A. Yale University (1994); M.Phil. University of Pennsylvania (1995); Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania (2002). Rebecca Kobrin works in the field of American Jewish History. Professor Kobrin served as the Hilda Blaustein Post-Doctoral Fellow at Yale University (2002–2004) and the American Academy of Jewish Research Post-Doctoral Fellow at New York University (2004–2006). Her area of specialty is Jewish immigration history, which she approaches through a transnational lens. Her research interests span from the fields of urban history to American religion and diaspora studies.
Racquel Gates received her PhD from Northwestern University’s department of Screen Cultures. She also holds an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago and a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
Her research focuses on blackness and popular culture, with special attention to discourses of taste and quality. She is the author of Double Negative: The Black Image and Popular Culture (Duke, 2018), where she argues that some of the most disreputable representations in black popular culture can strategically pose questions about blackness, black culture, and American society. In 2020, she was named an Academy Film Scholar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She used the grant to support work on her next book, Hollywood Style and the Invention of Blackness.
Committed to bringing together film studies in an academic context and film appreciation in more popular settings, Gates maintains a robust public engagement. Her work appears in both scholarly and popular publications, some of which include The New York Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Film Quarterly, Television & New Media, as well as other journals and collections. She is also a regular contributor to numerous podcasts, television programs, and recorded film interviews.
B.A, University of California, Berkeley (1990); M.A., University of Michigan (1992); Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara (1997). Professor Adams specializes in 19th- and 20th-century literatures of the United States and the Americas, media studies, theories of race, gender, and sexuality, food studies, medical humanities and disability studies. Her most recent book is Raising Henry: A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability, and Discovery, published by Yale University Press in 2013 and winner of the 2014 Delta Kappa Gamma Educators' Award. She is also the author of Continental Divides: Remapping the Cultures of North America (University of Chicago Press, 2009) and Sideshow U.S.A.: Freaks and the American Cultural Imagination (University of Chicago Press, 2001). She is co-editor (with Benjamin Reiss and David Serlin) of Keywords for Disability Studies and co-editor (with David Savran) of The Masculinity Studies Reader (Blackwell Press, 2001). She is editor of a critical edition of Kate Chopin's The Awakening (Fine Publications, 2002). Her articles have appeared in journals such as American Literature, American Literary History, American Quarterly,Minnesota Review, Camera Obscura, GLQ, Signs, Yale Journal of Criticism and Twentieth-Century Literature. She has also written for The New York Times, Washington Post, Salon, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Gastronomica, and the Times of London and blogs for The Huffington Post. In 2010 she was the recipient of the Lenfest Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award.
Paul Levitz is a comic fan (The Comic Reader), editor (Batman), writer (Legion of Super-Heroes), executive (30 years at DC, ending as President & Publisher), historian (Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel, Abrams ComicArts, 2015) and educator (including the American Graphic Novel at Columbia). Paul Levitz was extensively involved in transmedia in his four decades with DC Comics ending as President & Publisher from 2002-2009. He won two consecutive annual Comic Art Fan Awards for Best Fanzine, received Comic-con International’s Inkpot Award, the prestigious Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, the Comics Industry Appreciation Award from ComicsPro and the Dick Giordano Humanitarian Award from the Hero Initiative.
His 75 Years of DC Comics won the Eisner Award, the Eagle Award and Munich’s Peng Pris, and has been released as three separate volumes in 2013-5. His over 400 comics have been collected in over 20 graphic novels, and he is the first writer to have appeared on the New York Times Graphic Books Bestseller List for both fiction and non-fiction. Levitz also serves on the board of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and Boom! Studios. He teaches at Princeton, Columbia, Manhattanville and in Pace’s graduate program.
Michele Moody-Adams is currently the Joseph Straus Professor of Political Philosophy and Legal Theory at Columbia University, where she served as Dean of Columbia College and Vice President for Undergraduate Education from 2009-2011. Before Columbia, she taught at Cornell University, where she was Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Director of the Program on Ethics and Public Life. She has also taught at Wellesley College, the University of Rochester and Indiana University, where she served as an Associate Dean.
Moody-Adams has published articles on equality and social justice, moral psychology and the virtues, and the philosophical implications of gender and race. She is also the author of a widely cited book on moral relativism, Fieldwork in Familiar Places: Morality, Culture and Philosophy. Her current work includes articles on academic freedom, equal educational opportunity, and democratic disagreement. She is at work on a book tentatively entitled Renewing Democracy, on the political institutions and political culture essential to achieving justice and promoting stability in multicultural democracies.Moody-Adams has a B.A. from Wellesley College, a second B.A. from Oxford University, and earned the M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from Harvard University. She has been a British Marshall Scholar, an NEH Fellow, and is a lifetime Honorary Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford.
Michael Stephen Hindus received his AB from Columbia, his MA and PhD in History from the University of California at Berkeley, and his JD (cum laude) from Harvard Law School. At Columbia College, he studied with legendary professors James P. Shenton, Walter Metzger, and David Rothman, and participated in the Double Discovery Center. The author of two books and numerous articles in American legal history, he taught at the University of Minnesota and Stanford Law School. As a lawyer, he specialized in renewable energy development as a partner in the international law firm, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman before retiring in 2018. Since 2017, he has taught a seminar on American Legal History for the Center for American Studies. A passionate classical music devotee, he is on the board of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
Michael Witgen is a professor in the Department of History and the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University, and he is a citizen of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. He specializes in Indigenous and Early North American history, comparative borderlands, and the history of the early American Republic. His publications include “An Infinity of Nations: How the Native New World Shaped Early North America, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), and “American Indians in World History,” in the Oxford Handbook of American Indian History, ed., Fred Hoxie, (Cambridge: Oxford University Press, April 2016). His current research examines the intersection of race, national identity, and state making in the Old Northwest of the early republic, and includes the essay “Seeing Red: Race, Citizenship, and Indigeneity in the Old Northwest,” published in Journal of the Early Republic in 2018, and Seeing Red: Indigenous Land, American Expansion, and the Political Economy of Plunder in North America with the press of the Omohundro Institute for the Study of Early American History and Culture.
Michael Gately is Assistant Director of the Center for American Studies. He studied philosophy and politics at Princeton University and has taught history and English at the Collegiate School and Regis High School. He has worked as an editor and researcher, as writer-in-residence at a law firm, and he was a nonfiction fellow of The Writers' Institute at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. For five years he administered the Leon Levy Center for Biography there as Program Director, and he is now Executive Director of BIO, the international organization of biographers. He is also writing a book about Woodrow Wilson and cycling in the 1890s. Before joining the Center for American Studies, Michael worked as Assistant Director of the Narrative Medicine M.S. program at Columbia University.
Maura Spiegel specializes in contemporary fiction, film, and narrative theory. She is a founder and co-director of the Division of Narrative Medicine in the Department of Humanities and Ethics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, where she teaches a film course to first-year medical students. She has lectured on Narrative Medicine in Venice, London, Dublin, Buenos Aires, Toronto, Calgary, Tampere, Finland, Baroda, India, and in many cities around the U.S. She co-authored The Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine (Oxford University Press), which has been translated into French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Greek and Polish; The Grim Reader: Writings on Death, Dying and Living on (Anchor/Doubleday), The Breast Book: An Intimate and Curious History (Workman), which was a Book-of-the-Month Club-Quality Paperbacks selection. She edited and introduced new editions of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan of the Apes for the Barnes & Noble Classics Series. With Rita Charon, MD, PhD, she edited the journal Literature and Medicine (Johns Hopkins University Press) for seven years. She has written for The New York Times, Newsday, The British Film Institute, and has published articles on the history of the emotions, Charles Dickens, Victorian fashion, diamonds in the movies, among many other topics. She is writing a monograph on the films of Sidney Lumet (Columbia University Press), and her book, Sidney Lumet: A Life (St. Martin’s Press) was published in 2019.
Mark Lilla, Professor of Humanities, specializes in intellectual history, with a particular focus on Western political and religious thought. Before moving to Columbia in 2007 he taught in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago and at New York University. A regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, he is the author of The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics (2017), The Shipwrecked Mind: On Political Reaction (2016), The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West (2007),The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics (2001),and G.B. Vico: The Making of an Anti-Modern (1993). He has also edited The Legacy of Isaiah Berlin(2001) with Ronald Dworkin and Robert Silvers, and The Public Face of Architecture(1987) with Nathan Glazer. He is currently writing a book titled Ignorance and Bliss, and another on the history of the idea of conversion.
Mae M. Ngai is Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and Professor of History, and Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race. She is a U.S. legal and political historian interested in the histories of immigration, citizenship, nationalism, and the Chinese diaspora. She is author of the award winning Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (2004); The Lucky Ones: One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America (2010); and The Chinese Question: The Gold Rushes and Global Politics (2021). Ngai has written on immigration history and policy for the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, the Nation, and Dissent. Before becoming a historian she was a labor-union organizer and educator in New York City, working for District 65-UAW and the Consortium for Worker Education. She is now writing Nation of Immigrants: A Short History of an Idea (under contract with Princeton University Press).
Board of Visitors - American Studies Alumna, 2016
Lynne Breslin is a founding member of the architecture firm LBA. Her firm’s award winning work in the US, China and Africa has been widely published. She has taught architectural history and theory as well as design studio at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia since 1986. She has also taught at Princeton University School of Architecture, the Cooper Union and Pratt University. A graduate of Harvard College, she holds a M.Arch and M.A. from Princeton University. She was a Luce Scholar and served on the Advisory Board of the Princeton School of Architecture.
In addition to housing, single family residences, and schools, Breslin has designed a wide range of exhibitions for major museums including the opening temporary exhibition for the U S Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton University, Slavery in NY and the Civil War for the N-Y Historical Society, and the permanent exhibition at the Empire State building. Space, construction, video, graphics and artifacts are used to immerse visitors and compel them to examine the conventions of museum narratives. She has also written essays for books and design magazines on contemporary Japanese architecture and urbanism, museums and photography.
After a career in the financial markets as portfolio manager, research analyst, and investment banker focusing principally on the media and telecommunications industries, Les Levi began four years ago to build HC2 Broadcasting, today one of the largest media companies in the US, with more than 230 television stations nationwide. Mr. Levi serves as HC2 Broadcasting’s Managing Director and Head of Business Development. Previously he held senior positions at Plainfield Asset Management, JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch and Drexel Burnham Lambert. Mr. Levi graduated with a BA magna cum laude from New York University, majoring in English. He received his PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University and an MBA in Finance from the Stern School, New York University. He was previously an Adjunct Professor of Business at the Stern School, NYU, a position he held through 2016.
Jonathan Freedman recently retired as corporate partner in the international law firm Sidley Austin LLP, with a practice focusing on capital markets and mergers and acquisitions transactions in the insurance industry. He is currently a graduate student in American Studies at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University. He graduated from Columbia College magna cum laude in 1978 with a major in history, studying under Professor James Shenton, one of founders of the Double Discovery Program. Freedman received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1981. He also serves on the Steering Committee of the Board of Visitors of the Department of History at Columbia.
John H McWhorter is an associate professor in the Slavic Department at Columbia University. He earned his B.A. from Rutgers, his M.A. from New York University, and his Ph.D. in linguistics from Stanford. Professor McWhorter has taught the seminar "Language in America," a study of American linguistic history that consider**s Native American languages, immigrant languages, creole languages, American Sign Language, Black English and other speech varieties-- their development, interactions, and preservation. He has also taught the seminar "Language Contact," which focuses specifically on the mixture of language in North America, and studies the development of creoles, pidgins, koines, "vehicular" languages, and nonstandard dialects. Both seminar*s consider perceived legitimacy of languages, and the standing of language mixtures in media and education. Professor McWhorter also teaches various other courses for the Linguistics Program and Music Humanities for the Core Curriculum program.
Professor McWhorter is an author of more than twenty books including The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language, Losing the Race: Self Sabotage in Black America and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English. In 2016 he published Words on the Move: Why English Won't - and Can't - Sit Still (Like, Literally), while in 2021 he published Nine Nasty Words and Woke Racism. He also writes a weekly column for The New York Times and hosts the language podcast Lexicon Valley. Students might be particularly interested in his article on how immigrants change languages in The Atlantic and an essay on policing the "N-word" in Time.
Jeremy Dauber is the Atran Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture and, for a decade, directed the Institute of Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University. He is the author of six books: Antonio's Devils: Writers of the Jewish Enlightenment and the Birth of Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature (Stanford University Press, 2004); In the Demon's Bedroom: Yiddish Literature and the Early Modern (Yale University Press; 2010); The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem (Schocken Books, 2013); Jewish Comedy: A Serious History ( W.W. Norton, 2017); American Comics: A History (W.W. Norton: 2021), and, now, Mel Brooks: Disobedient Jew (Yale University Press: 2023). He frequently lectures on topics related to Jewish literature, history, humor, and popular culture at the 92nd St Y and other venues throughout the United States.
B.A., Columbia (1977); Ph.D., University of Chicago (1982). Professor Shapiro is author of Rival Playwrights: Marlowe, Jonson, Shakespeare (1991); Shakespeare and the Jews (1995), which was awarded the Bainton Prize; Oberammergau: The Troubling Story of the World's Most Famous Passion Play (2000); 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (2005), winner of the Theatre Book Prize as well as the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize; and Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? (2010), winner of the Lionel Trilling Award in 2011. He has co-edited the Columbia Anthology of British Poetry and served as the associate editor of the Columbia History of British Poetry. He has also co-authored and presented a 3-hour BBC documentary, The King and the Playwright (2012). He has been awarded fellowships by the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEH, the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and the Huntington Library. His other books include The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606, a Library of America volume on Shakespeare in America, and Shakespeare in a Divided America, selected by the New York Times as one of the ten best books of the year. He is currently at work on two books, one on rise and fall of the Federal Theatre Project in the late 1930s, the other, Othello: An American Life. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011.
Ira Katznelson is Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History. His Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time (2013) was awarded the Bancroft Prize in History and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award in Political Science. His most recent books are Southern Nation: Congress and White Supremacy after Reconstruction (2020) and Time Counts: Quantitative Methods for Historical Social Science (2022). Professor Katznelson, a former president both of the American Political Science Association and the Social Science Research Council, served as Columbia’s Interim Provost from 2019-2021. He earned his BA at Columbia College and his PhD in History at the University of Cambridge, where he is a research associate at the Centre for History and Economics.
Interests and Research
Hilary Hallett is a historian of modern American cultural and social history. Her areas of specialization include women and gender history; histories of popular and mass culture in transatlantic perspective; and histories of American culture industries, particularly theater, music, film, and Hollywood's history. She is interested in mass media’s relationship to social change, and to the big stories they tell about America and Americans over time. She has worked as an historical consultant for both documentaries and narrative features and television, including most recently a forthcoming mini-series about actress, Hedy Lamarr.
Go West, Young Women: The Rise of Early Hollywood (2013) https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520274099/go-west-young-women explores how early Hollywood became a symbol of the new professional opportunities and sexual freedoms seized by some young women in the early decades of the twentieth century.
Her second book, Inventing the It Girl: Life & Times of Elinor Glyn is due out with Liveright-Norton (June 2022). This unconventional biography explores the influence of the British socialite, founder of the modern 'sex novel' (and author of more than 30 books), and early Hollywood's resident philosopher of love on mass culture.
Ph.D. — CUNY Graduate Center, 2005
B.F.A. — Tisch School of the Arts, NYU
- Fellow, Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, New York Public Library, 2016-17
- Jensen-Miller Prize, for “Based on a True Story,” Western History Association, 2012
- Historical Society of Southern California/ Haynes Foundation Fellowship, 2007
- Fellow, Center for the Analysis of Culture, Rutgers University, 2004-2005
- E. P. Thompson Dissertation Fellowship, CUNY Graduate Center, 2002-2003
- Organization of American Historians
- Society of Cinema and Media Studies
- Women & the Silent Screen
Go West, Young Women! The Rise of Early Hollywood (University of California Press, 2013).
Inventing the It Girl: Life & Times of Elinor Glyn (Liveright-Norton, June 2022).
“A Mother to the Modern Girl: Elinor Glyn and Three Weeks,” Journal of Women’s History (Aug. 2018).
“Based on a True Story: New Western Women and the Birth of Hollywood,” Pacific Historical Review (May 2012): 177 – 210.
“Women’s Migration, Early Hollywood, and the Making of Los Angeles,” in Actes de l’histoire de l’immigration, Image et representations du genre en migration, Numero special, vol. 7 (2007): 91 – 104.
George Chauncey, DeWitt Clinton Professor of American History and director of the Columbia Research Initiative on the Global History of Sexualities, works on the history of gender, sexuality, and the city, with a particular focus on American LGBTQ history. He is the author of Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940, which won five book awards, including the Merle Curti Award in social history (Organization of American Historians), the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize (OAH), and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History, and Why Marriage? The History Shaping Today’s Debate over Gay Equality. He is also the co-editor of Hidden From History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past and of a special issue of GLQ: Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies on “Thinking Sexuality Transnationally.” Since 1993, he has participated as an expert witness in more than thirty gay rights cases, including Romer v. Evans (1996), Lawrence v. Texas (2003), and the marriage equality cases decided by the Supreme Court in 2013 and 2015. He has also served as historical consultant to numerous public history projects, including documentary films and exhibitions, lecture series, and webinar series at the Library of Congress, New York Public Library, and Chicago History Museum. Before coming to Columbia in fall 2017, he taught at the University of Chicago and at Yale University, where he was awarded Yale’s prize for teaching excellence in the humanities and served as director of both undergraduate and graduate studies for the American Studies program as well as chair of the History Department and chair of the Committee for LGBT Studies. He is currently completing a book on gay culture and everyday life in the segregated neighborhoods of postwar New York City. In 2022, the Library of Congress awarded him the John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity.
Frank A. Guridy is Professor of History and African American and African Diaspora Studies and the Executive Director of the Eric H. Holder Initiative for Civil and Political Rights at Columbia University. He is an award-winning historian whose recent research has focused on sport history, urban history, and the history of American social movements. His latest book, The Sports Revolution: How Texas Changed the Culture of American Athletics (University of Texas Press, 2021) explored how Texas-based sports entrepreneurs and athletes from marginalized backgrounds transformed American sporting culture during the 1960s and 1970s, the highpoint of the Black Freedom and Second-Wave feminist movements. Guridy is also a leading scholar of the Black Freedom Movement in the United States and in other parts of the African Diaspora. His first book, Forging Diaspora: Afro-Cubans and African Americans in a World of Empire and Jim Crow (University of North Carolina Press, 2010), won the Elsa Goveia Book Prize from the Association of Caribbean Historians and the Wesley-Logan Book Prize, conferred by the American Historical Association. He is also the co-editor of Beyond el Barrio: Everyday Life in Latino/a America (NYU Press, 2010), with Gina Pérez and Adrian Burgos, Jr. His articles have appeared in Kalfou, Radical History Review, Caribbean Studies, Social Text, and Cuban Studies.
His writing and commentary on sport, society, and politics have been published in Public Books, Columbia News, NBC News.com and the Washington Post. He has also appeared on a wide variety of podcasts, radio, and TV programs, including the Edge of Sports podcast by The Nation, Burn it All Down, End of Sport, Texas Public Radio, the Houston Chronicle’s Sports Nation, Al Jazeera’s “The Listening Post,” WNYC Public Radio, among others. His fellowships and awards include the Scholar in Residence Fellowship at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Ray A. Billington Professorship in American History at Occidental College and the Huntington Library. He is also an award-winning teacher, receiving the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010, and the Mark Van Doren Award for Teaching at Columbia in 2019. His current book project, Between Conflict and Community: The Stadium in American Life, under contract with Basic Books, is a history of the American stadium as a community institution that has been a battleground for social justice since its inception.
Professor of English and Comparative Literature
B.A., Harvard (1985); Ph.D.,Yale (1992). Professor Griffin's major fields of interest are American and African American literature, music, history and politics. The recipient of numerous honors and awards for her teaching and scholarship, in 2006-2007 Professor Griffin was a fellow at the New York Public Library Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. She is the author of Who Set You Flowin’: The African American Migration Narrative (Oxford, 1995), If You Can’t Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday (Free Press, 2001) and Clawing At the Limits of Cool: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the Greatest Jazz Collaboration Ever (Thomas Dunne, 2008). She is also the editor of Beloved Sisters and Loving Friends: Letters from Addie Brown and Rebecca Primus (Knopf, 1999) co-editor, with Cheryl Fish, of Stranger in the Village: Two Centuries of African American Travel Writing (Beacon, 1998) and co-editor with Brent Edwards and Robert O'Meally of Uptown Conversations: The New Jazz Studies (Columbia University Press, 2004).
Courtney Bender is the Ada Byron Bampton Tremaine Professor of Religion at Columbia University. A sociologist and religious studies scholar, she is the author of Heaven’s Kitchen: Living Religion at God’s Love We Deliver (University of Chicago 2003) and the award-winning The New Metaphysicals: Spirituality and the American Religious Imagination (University of Chicago 2010) and co-editor of three collected volumes on religion and secularity, religious pluralism, and the future of the sociology of religion. Most recently she is one of eight co-authors of the 2022 book The Abyss, or, Life is Simple: Reading Knausgaard Writing Religion (University of Chicago Press). Her current research investigates twentieth century secular planning and architectural projects meant to shape the future of American religion, or the "religion of the future."
Cathleen Price is a 1992 graduate of Columbia College who presently practices law. She works to confront the disaster of mass incarceration that has resulted from the over-reliance on the prison system as a solution to our society's problems. Since 1997, she has worked on behalf of death-sentenced prisoners, offenders subject to excessively harsh punishments, and communities marginalized by poverty and chronic discrimination. She litigates on behalf of individuals and also advocates before legislators and other policymakers. In addition to practicing law, Ms. Price provides training and consultation assistance to a range of activists and organizations whose work challenges the despair of the prevailing system of criminal justice. She is a 1996 graduate of Harvard Law School, which in 2004 awarded her its Gary Bellow Public Service Award.
Casey Nelson Blake works on modern U.S. intellectual and cultural history, with an emphasis on the relationship between artistic modernism, cultural criticism and democratic citizenship. His publications include Beloved Community: The Cultural Criticism of Randolph Bourne, Van Wyck Brooks, Waldo Frank, and Lewis Mumford, The Arts of Democracy: Art, Public Culture, and the State, The Armory Show at 100: Modernism and Revolution and At the Center: American Thought and Culture in the Mid-Twentieth Century (co-authored with Daniel Borus and Howard Brick). He is currently at work on a cultural biography of the writer and critic Paul Goodman.
Professor Blake came to Columbia in 1999 as founding Director of the Center for American Studies after directing American Studies programs at Indiana University and Washington University, and teaching at Reed College. As Director, Professor Blake oversaw the development of a civic engagement curriculum within the Center, as well as the “Freedom and Citizenship” program that provides humanities education and college mentoring to under-served high school students.
Lecturer in Law Benjamin E. Rosenberg is a partner in the white collar and securities litigation groups at Derchert. From 1990 to 1994, he was an assistant United States attorney in the criminal division in the Southern District of New York, where he tried and investigated cases involving narcotics trafficking, identification theft, perjury, obstruction of justice, and gang violence. From March 2007 to July 2008, Rosenberg took a leave of absence from Dechert to serve as chief trial counsel for the New York State Attorney General, where he was lead counsel responsible for some of the largest investigations and litigations in the attorney general's office. For his work there, he was awarded the New York State Attorney General's award.
He clerked for the Honorable Judge Edward R. Becker of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Rosenberg earned his B.A. and J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was editor and treasurer of the Harvard Law Review.
Reporting to the Director and Assistant Director, Arelis Herrera provides administrative and clerical support to the Center for American Studies. Arelis acts as the point of contact for the academic department, communicating with individuals at all levels, including students, faculty, scholars, visitors, and the general public and refers non-routine inquiries to appropriate staff or faculty.
Arelis joined the Center for American Studies in January 2022, having previously held the role of accounts payable in the Business Office of the Law School in Columbia. Before coming to Columbia, she worked as an online ESL tutor for international students. Arelis received a bachelor’s degree in Art & Graphic Design from the City College of New York. Although she gets to use her creativity and skills everywhere she goes, Arelis has always worked closely with higher education sector and loves interacting with students.
Andrew Delbanco is Alexander Hamilton Professor of American Studies, president of the Teagle Foundation, and past president (2021-22) of the Society of American Historians.
His recent book The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War (Penguin Press, 2018), named a New York Times notable book, was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf prize for “books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and human diversity,” the Lionel Trilling Award, and the Mark Lynton History Prize, sponsored by the Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation at Harvard, for a work “of history, on any subject, that best combines intellectual or scholarly distinction with felicity of expression.”
Professor Delbanco’s other books include College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be (Princeton University Press, 2012; second edition 2023), and Melville: His World and Work (Knopf, 2005), which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in biography. His essays appear in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The Nation, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other periodicals, on topics ranging from American literature and history to contemporary issues in higher education.
In 2006, Professor Delbanco was honored with the Great Teacher Award by the Society of Columbia Graduates. In 2012, he was awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama. In 2022 he delivered the Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, “the highest honor conferred by the federal government for intellectual achievement in the humanities,” on “The Question of Reparations: Our Past, Our Present, Our Future.”
Alan Robert Ginsberg is an independent management consultant, the Executive Director of The Evidence Room Foundation, a nonprofit organization that owns and exhibits installation art in discourse with history, at museums and universities, the President of institutional investor consultancy called Larchmont Advisors Inc., and a member of the Board of Visitors at the Center for American Studies at Columbia University. He is a Board Observer to the Board of Directors of Guitar Center.
His book, The Salome Ensemble: Rose Pastor Stokes, Anzia Yezierska, Sonya Levien, and Jetta Goudal, published in April 2016 by Syracuse University Press, was the recipient of the 2017 Theatre Library Association Special Jury Prize for an exemplary work in the field of broadcast or recorded performance. As a freelance journalist he has written articles published in the Columbia Journalism Review, Los Angeles Magazine, and Musician Magazine.
Ginsberg earned an MA in American Studies from Columbia University in 2010, a JD from Boston University School of Law in 1980, and a BA in English and General Literature from SUNY-Binghamton in 1977. He was a research analyst and a research department manager at Barclays Capital from 1998-2000, and Salomon Smith Barney from 1993-1998, and a research analyst at Bear Stearns from 1990-1993 and Drexel Burnham Lambert from 1986-1990, focusing on junk bonds and other forms of debt. He was in-house counsel and program director at a non-governmental organization at the United Nations in New York City, promoting women’s rights in developing countries.
He lives in New York City.