About the Historians

About the Historians

Adam Rothman Lead Historian for the Middle School Cohort, see About the Project Team.

Chandra Manning graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1993, University College Galway in 1995, and earned the Ph.D. in history from Harvard University in 2002. Her dissertation won the C. Vann Woodward prize, awarded by the Southern Historical Association for best dissertation on any aspect of Southern history. She served as a lecturer at Harvard University from 2002 to 2003 and as Assistant Professor of History at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington from 2003 to 2005. Her work focuses on nineteenth century United States History, with particular interest in sectionalism, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Currently, she is completing a manuscript on Civil War soldiers’ views of the causes of the war, while working on a volume about Wisconsin in the Civil War and a book about Civil War soldiers’ camp newspapers. She is also interested in the history of baseball.

Christopher Hamner specializes in the social dimensions of U.S. military history. An honors graduate of Dartmouth College, he received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in 2004. His dissertation explores the changes in individual soldiers’ experiences in combat and the factors that motivated them to continue fighting as warfare became progressively more industrialized. He has been a fellow at Harvard University’s John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies and the U.S. Army’s Center for Military History, and taught at Duke University and Appalachian State University in North Carolina before coming to George Mason University in 2005. He continues to pursue his research interest in the individual experience of combat and combat motivation by extending his analysis to the post-industrial, irregular battlefield.

David Painter teaches international history in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. His publications include Oil and the American Century: The Political Economy of U.S. Foreign Oil Policy, 1941-1954 (1986); Origins of the Cold War: An International History (co-editor, 2d ed., 2005); The Cold War: An International History (1999); and articles on the Cold War, oil and foreign policy, and U.S. policy toward the Third World.

Linda Kerber is May Brodbeck Professor in Liberal Arts & Sciences and Lecturer in the College of Law, where she teaches courses in Gender and Legal History at the University of Iowa. She received her PhD in history from Columbia University in 1968. In 2006 she served as President of the American Historical Association. During the academic year 2006-07 she was Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford University. In her writing and teaching Linda Kerber has emphasized the history of citizenship, gender, and authority. Linda K. Kerber is the author of many books; her most recent is No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship (1998) for which she was awarded the Littleton-Griswold Prize for the best book in U.S. legal history and the Joan Kelley Prize for the best book in women’s history (both awarded by the American Historical Association).

Melani McAlister is Associate Professor of American Studies and International Affairs at George Washington University where she writes and teaches about U.S. cultural history, cultural theory, the United States in a global context, and religion. She is the author of Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and U.S. Interests in the Middle East since 1945 and has written extensively about American perceptions of the Middle East, including in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Nation, and the Journal of American History. Professor McAlister received her PhD from Brown University (1996) and her BA from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She is currently working on a study of Christian evangelicals, popular culture, and foreign relations, titled, “Our God in the World: The Global Visions of the American Evangelicals” and recently served as a fellow at Princeton’s Davis Center for Historical Studies for the Fall 2007.

Meredith Lair is a 2004 graduate of the Pennsylvania State University with a doctorate in history. Her dissertation, “Beauty, Bullets, and Ice Cream”: Re-Imagining Daily Life in the ‘Nam, examines American soldiers’ non-combat experiences in Vietnam—labor, living conditions, recreation and leisure, and consumerism—to challenge the publics combat-dominated memory of the war. Lair has a great deal of experience communicating about the Vietnam War to a variety of audiences, including undergraduates, graduate students, adult learners, and museum visitors to the New Jersey Vietnam Era Educational Center, for which she wrote the exhibit script. Lairs research, writing, and courses about the Vietnam War synthesize her graduate training, which emphasized twentieth-century American social and cultural history, the military history of the conflict, and the war from the Vietnamese perspective. In addition, Lair has assisted with several workshops for schoolteachers while working at the Richards Civil War Era Center at Penn State, including an NEH Landmarks in American History workshop in Charleston.

Michael O’Malley Lead Historian for the High School Cohort, see About the Project Team.

Paula Petrik is a Professor in the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University and Associate Director of the Center for History and New Media. She is the author or coauthor of several books, including Small Worlds: Children and Adolescents in America, 1850-1950, and No Step Backward: Women and Family on the Rocky Mountain Mining Frontier, and is coauthor of a CD-ROM for Houghton Mifflin. Her research interests concern the history of women and the family in the American West, the United States toy industry, the development of domestic law, and the application of digital technology to teaching history and historical research. She has received a Fulbright Fellowship to the United Kingdom, an NEH Fellowship, an Apple Computer Faculty Internship, and a Smithsonian Fellowship, in addition to the Paladin and Oscar O. Winther prizes.

Peter Stearns received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Editor of the Journal of Social History, he is also a prolific author, having recently published The Battleground of Desire: The Struggle for Self-Control in Modern America; Fat History: Bodies and Beauty in Western Society; Gender in World History; and World History: Patterns of Change and Continuity. Dr. Stearns is also editor of the recently published 6-volume Encyclopedia of European Social History from 1350 to 2000. He is active in several professional organizations including the American Historical Society, the Society of French Historical Studies, the Social Science History Association, and the International Society for Research on Emotion. He is currently provost at George Mason University, bringing to that position nearly 40 years of professional experience in higher education, both as a teacher and an administrator.

Roger Wilkins came to George Mason with broad experience in public affairs. During the Johnson administration, Wilkins served as assistant attorney general. In a distinguished journalism career, he has written for both The New York Times and The Washington Post, and he was associate editor of The Washington Star. While on the editorial page staff of The Washington Post, he shared a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for Watergate coverage with Woodward, Bernstein, and Herblock. His highly acclaimed autobiography, A Man’s Life (1982), was reprinted in 1991, and he was co-editor with Fred Harris of Quiet Riots in 1988. Among an array of public service activities, he served as past chair of the Board of Trustees of the Africa America Institute and is a member of the Board of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He is publisher of NAACP’s journal Crisis and has served on the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia and on the District of Columbia Board of Education. Wilkins holds a law degree from the University of Michigan. His book Jefferson’s Pillow: The Founding Fathers and the Dilemma of Black Patriotism was published in 2001 and won the 2002 NAIBA Book Award for Adult Non-Fiction.

Ronald Walters has been at the Johns Hopkins University since 1970, where he is presently Professor of History. He took his undergraduate degree at Stanford University and received his Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1971. His earliest research was in American abolitionism and in the history of reform movements more generally, and he has published widely in those areas, including the books The Antislavery Impulse: American Abolitionism After 1830 (1976, 1984) and American Reformers (1978; revised edition, 1997). His present work divides between his interest in radical reform movements and research on nineteenth- and twentieth-century American commercial popular culture.

Rosemarie Zagarri received her Ph.D. from Yale University in 1984. She is the author of Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007), The Politics of Size: Representation in the United States, 1776-1850 (Cornell University Press, 1987) and A Woman’s Dilemma: Mercy Otis Warren and the American Revolution (Harlan Davidson, 1995) and the editor of David Humphreys’ ‘Life of General Washington’ with George Washington’s ‘Remarks.’ She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Antiquarian Society, and the American Philosophical Society. In 1992, she received the Outstanding Article Prize, awarded by the Southeastern Eighteenth-Century Studies Association, for “Morals, Manners, and the Republican Mother.”

Sharon Leon is Director of Public Projects and Research Assistant Professor at the Center for History and New Media (CHNM). Her research interests include the history of religion in the U.S., especially Roman Catholicism, history of science, and twentieth century cultural history. She received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and her doctorate in American Studies at the University of Minnesota in 2004. Her book manuscript on US Catholics and the Eugenics Movement is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press. At CHNM, she has worked on World History Matters (worldhistorymatters.org), ECHO (echo.gmu.edu), and the Teaching American History Grants (chnm.gmu.edu/tah/). She currently directs the Center’s work on Historical Thinking Matters (historicalthinkingmatters.org) and The Object of History (objectofhistory.org).

T. Mills Kelly is an Associate Director of the Center for History and New Media and an Associate Professor of History at George Mason University. His new media interests center on the influence of digital media on student learning in history. Those interests have resulted in the co-direction of two NEH-funded education projects: World History Sources and Women in World History. These two projects won the American Historical Association’s James Harvey Robinson Award in 2007 for the best teaching resource of the previous two years. He is currently the principle investigator on another NEH-funded education project: Making the History of 1989: The Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. In recognition of his work on teaching with technology, Professor Kelly was awarded the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Award and George Mason University’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2005. His conventional historical research focuses on the history of East Central Europe. His current project is a book on the relationship between drinking cultures and radical politics in East Central Europe.

Wendi Manuel-Scott is an assistant professor of world history at George Mason University. She received her Ph.D. from Howard University in 2004. Her fields of teaching are African Diaspora, Caribbean, and women’s history in the Caribbean. From 1998-2000 she was a fellow at the national program Preparing Future Faculty (PFF), which prepares graduate students for the professoriate. Prior to joining George Mason University, she taught African Diaspora for nearly two years at Howard University, in addition to teaching at Coppin State College. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the College of Charleston and a master’s degree in history from Howard University. She is currently writing a book on West Indian farm labor migration to the US, tentatively entitled, “Soldiers of the Field: Jamaican Farm Workers in the United States during the Second World War.”

Michael Bottoms is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University. His research interests include the study of race, politics, and law in the nineteenth-century American West. He is currently working on a book manuscript entitled, An Aristocracy of Color.

Whitman Ridgway has published one monograph and co-authored other books. He has published a number of articles, and contributed to biographical dictionaries in his field. He has served on the Book Prize Committee of the Society for the Historians of the Early Republic, organized panels at historical conventions, and organized and participated in a number of summer teaching institutes. Professor Ridgway served on the Editorial Board of Historical Methods Newsletter from 1973 to 1979. He has received grants from NEH, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Newberry Library, the Social Science Research Council, and the GRB. He is currently working on a monograph on the Alien and Seditions Act crisis in the 1790s.

Zachary Schrag is an assistant professor of history at George Mason University. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2002. His dissertation, a history of the Washington Metro, was awarded the John Reps Prize by the Society for American City and Regional Planning History. A revised version, The Great Society Subway: A History of the Washington Metro, will be published by the Johns Hopkins University Press in spring 2006. Schrag’s articles have appeared in the Journal of Urban History, Washington History, and Technology and Culture. Schrag taught full-time at Baruch College and Columbia University before coming to George Mason in 2004.