Warren Center

A nexus for Americanists at Harvard and in the Boston area, the Warren Center hosts visiting faculty from around the country, provides grants for graduate and undergraduate research, supports postdoctoral fellows, and sponsors lectures and workshops on critical topics in American History.

The Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History was founded in 1965 to advance research and teaching across a broad range of American historical inquiry. Since its inception, the keystone of the Warren Center mission has been its fellows program, enriching our Harvard community of students and scholars with visiting faculty in residence for a semester or year at a time. The fellows program was revitalized in the mid-1990s by the introduction of annual themes, and in the early 2000s with the addition of a graduate course linked to the fellows’ workshop. In fulfillment of its core goals, the Center also provides vital student grants, supporting undergraduate and graduate research across the many FAS departments and programs in which investigations of American life, culture, and history are conducted. Publication projects have included Perspectives in American History and Yards and Gates. New for 2013-14 is a postdoctoral fellowship in Global American Studies, which will bring to Harvard emerging scholars with a historical perspective on topics such as empire, migration, race, indigeneity, and ethnicity.

To honor the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation in 2013, the Warren Center has invited four guests to share insights on this transformative document of American history. Alan Gilbert (University of Denver) visited the Center on March 27th, presenting work on "Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War for Independence.” Additional lectures noted below (all talks from 4:00 to 6:00 pm in the Robinson Hall Basement Conference Room).
Tuesday, April 16
[photo of James Oakes]
James Oakes (CUNY)
The Scorpion’s Sting: The Irreconcilable Conflict over Slavery
Monday, April 22
[photo of Thavolia Glymph]
Thavolia Glymph (Duke)
Refugees & Outlaws: Enslaved Women & the Struggle for Freedom on the Civil War’s Battlefields
Tuesday, April 30
[photo of Michael Ralph]
Michael Ralph (NYU)
The Afterlife of Slave Insurance

Postdoctoral Fellowship

With the support of Social Science Dean Peter Marsden, the Warren Center is pleased to announce a new two-year postdoctoral fellowship in Global American Studies. Broadly concerned with the history of the United States in the world, and the world in the United States, the program will bring to Harvard emerging scholars from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds who bring historical perspective to topics such as empire, migration, race, indigeneity, and ethnicity, and whose work investigates or interprets the history and experience in the United States of native peoples, or peoples of African, Asian, or Hispanic descent.

Allan Lumba’s work investigates intersections between American imperialism and global market formation. He received a PhD in History from the University of Washington for his dissertation, “Monetary Authorities: Market Knowledge and Imperial Government in the Colonial Philippines 1892-1942.” During the upcoming year he will teach an undergraduate seminar in the History Department (cross-listed in Ethnic Studies).

Elizabeth Mesok’s work is situated at the crossroads of transnational American studies, critical ethnic studies, and gender and sexuality studies. Her PhD in American Studies is from New York University for “Warring Subjects: Gender, Liberalism, and the Global War on Terror.”  During the upcoming year she will teach an undergraduate seminar in the History Department (cross-listed in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies).

Faculty Fellowship

2013-2014 will mark the sesquicentennial of George Perkins Marsh’s Man and Nature and the centennial of John Muir’s death. It will also be the sixty-fifth anniversary of Aldo Leopold’s Sand County Almanac, the fiftieth anniversary of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty between the United States and Soviet Union, and the forty-fifth anniversary of the “Earthrise” photographs taken by the astronauts of Apollo 8.

With these and other environmental milestones in mind, the Warren Center will convene a fellows’ workshop on how the natural world has been and continues to be a meaningful topic for American studies. Led by Joyce Chaplin (History), Lawrence Buell (English), and Robin Kelsey (History of Art and Architecture), our major goal will be to assess how the American past has been situated within its natural contexts. Nature in art, environmental history, and ecocriticism have each been established as important topics or modes of scholarly assessment, but these subfields have often been considered in isolation from each other, at the margins of the dominant narratives within art history, history, and literary studies. Another objective, then, may be to bring environmental studies into the foreground of relevant disciplines, including history, art history, and literature.

2013-14 Visiting Faculty

Catherine Gudis (UC - Riverside): “Curating the City: The Framing of Los Angeles.”
Nicolas Howe (Williams College): “The Secular Eye: Landscape, Law, and the American Religious Imagination.”
Sarah Luria (College of the Holy Cross): “Block Stories: A Field Guide to Where You Live.”
Neil Maher (New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers-Newark) “Ground Control: How the Space Race Scrubbed the Revolution.”
Kathryn Morse (Middlebury College): “The View from Here: Picturing America’s Environmental Past.”
Cynthia Ott (St. Louis University): “Indian National Parks: The Recent History of Environmental Protection on American Indian Lands.”
Aaron Sachs (Cornell University): “Melville and Mumford: The Modern Environment, Everyday Trauma, and the Art of Rediscovery.”

Special thanks to Arthur Patton-Hock, Associate Director of the Warren Center, for photos and text for this feature.

(Posted April 2013.)