ASHP logo

Institute Faculty


Joshua Brown
Joshua Brown is executive director of the American Social History Project and professor of history at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He is a noted scholar of visual culture in U.S. history, and author of Beyond the Lines: Pictorial Reporting, Everyday Life, and the Crisis of Gilded Age America (2002), and co-author of Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction (2005). He is currently working on a study of Civil War visual culture for which he received a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship. Brown will lecture on the Civil War illustrated press and participate throughout the institute.
Sarah Burns
Sarah Burns is the Ruth N. Halls Professor of the History of Art (emerita) at Indiana University. She is a leading scholar of nineteenth-century American art and popular culture, and author of award-winning studies, including Painting the Dark Side: Art and the Gothic Imagination in Nineteenth-Century America (2004) and Inventing the Modern Artist: Art and Culture in Gilded Age America (1996), and is co-editor of American Art to 1900: A Documentary History (2009). Burns will be the lead art historian throughout the institute.
Gregory Downs
Gregory Downs is associate professor of history at the City College of New York, CUNY. Downs specializes in Civil War and Reconstruction history and is author of Declarations of Dependence: The Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Transformation of American Popular Politics (2011). Recipient of a 2011 NEH Research Fellowship and 2013 ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship, he currently is writing The Ends of the War: Fighting the Civil War after Appomattox. Downs will serve as the institute’s primary faculty resource on Civil War history throughout the institute.
David Jaffee
David Jaffee is professor and director of new media at the Bard Graduate Center. He is a leading scholar of U.S. social history, material culture, and a noted writer on and practitioner of teaching with technology. He is author of A New Nation of Goods: The Material Culture of Early America (2010), and has designed and led digital history teaching initiatives sponsored by NEH and the Atlantic Philanthropies’ Visible Knowledge Project. Jaffee will be the institute’s lead historian, focusing on teaching with visual evidence.


Jeanie Attie
Jeanie Attie is chair and associate professor of history at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University. She teaches courses in 19th-century U.S. history (antebellum and Civil War eras) as well as thematic courses on historical memory, cities, migrations and ethnicity. She is the author of Patriotic Toil: Northern Women and the American Civil War (1998). Attie will deliver a lecture on northern and southern women and domesticity, labor, voluntary work, and political intervention during the Civil War.
LynneBassett Lynne Zacek Bassett
Lynne Zacek Bassett is an award-winning independent scholar specializing in historic costume and textiles. She was curator of textiles and fine arts at Old Sturbridge Village, and subsequently has directed exhibition and publishing projects for the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, The Mark Twain House and Museum, Historic Deerfield, and the American Textile History Museum. She is editor and primary author of Massachusetts Quilts: Our Common Wealth (2009) and co-author of Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts and Context in the Civil War (2012). Bassett will lecture on the fabrics and clothes of the Civil War.
Alice Fahs
Alice Fahs is associate professor of history at the University of California, Irvine. Fahs specializes in U.S. cultural history, including popular culture, print culture, and the market. She is author of The Imagined Civil War: Popular Literature of the North and South, 1861-1865 (2000), and co-editor of The Memory of the Civil War in American Culture (2004). Fahs will deliver an introductory lecture on the Civil War’s visual “landscape.”
LaurenHewes Lauren Hewes
Lauren Hewes is the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts at the American Antiquarian Society. She is a leading scholar of nineteenth-century American prints, and author of numerous authoritative articles on commercial visual culture, including With a French Accent: French and American Lithography before 1860 (2012). Hewes will lead a session on Civil War ephemera.
mcinnis Maurie McInnis
Maurie McInnis is professor of art and material culture and director of the American studies program at the University of Virginia. She is author of Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade (2011), which won the Charles C. Eldredge Book Prize from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, as well as The Politics of Taste in Antebellum Charleston (2005). McInnis will lecture on slavery and anti-slavery in antebellum visual culture.
MollyMitchell Mary Niall Mitchell
Mary Niall Mitchell is associate professor of history at the University of New Orleans. She is author of Raising Freedom’s Child: Black Children and Visions of the Future After Slavery (2008), as well as articles and reviews on race, slavery, and emancipation in the U.S. South and the Americas. She is currently working on a new project about race, slavery, and the Fugitive Slave Act in the 1850s. Mitchell will co-lead a session on Civil War photography.
MeganNelson Megan Kate Nelson
Megan Kate Nelson is a freelance writer. She is author of Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War (2012) and Trembling Earth: A Cultural History of the Okefenokee Swamp (2005), and is a contributor to the New York Times “Disunion” blog. Nelson will lecture on the visualization of the war’s destruction.
KirkSavage Kirk Savage
Kirk Savage is professor of the history of U.S. art and architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a leading scholar of public monuments and memory, and author of Monument Wars: Washington, D.C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape (2009), which won the Smithsonian American Art Museum Charles C. Eldredge Prize, and Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America (1999). Savage will lecture on Civil War commemorative sculpture.
Richard Samuel West
Richard Samuel West is author of major studies on nineteenth-century cartoons, including Satire on Stone: The Political Cartoons of Joseph Keppler (1988), The San Francisco Wasp: An Illustrated History (2004), and co-author of William Newman: A Victorian Cartoonist in London and New York (2009). West will lead a session on Civil War political cartoons.
Deborah Willis
Deborah Willis is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Willis is the leading scholar of African American photography and is the author of over 20 books, including Picturing Us: African American Identity in Photography (1994), Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers (2000), and most recently, Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery (2013). Willis will co-lead a session on the black image in Civil War-era photography.


Donna Thompson Ray
Donna Thompson Ray is the project director for faculty development programs at the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning. She has directed many NEH-funded faculty development programs and visual history projects, including Learning to Look: Visual Evidence and the U.S. Past in the New Media Classroom (2002-04) and the Picturing U.S. History: An Interactive Resource for Teaching with Visual Evidence website. She is a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. history at Drew University specializing in nineteenth-century American visual culture.

Copyright 2015 · American Social History Productions, Inc.