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Princeton History Department copes with faculty departures

Historians in the News




In the last five years, the number of tenured history department faculty whose research and teaching focuses on the United States has fallen from a recent high of nine in 2002 to five this year.

"We recognize that we're shorthanded," 20th century American history professor Kevin Kruse, who received tenure last spring after six years as an assistant professor, said. "But we're working to correct it."

The history department has suffered significant losses with the resignations or retirements of five faculty since 2003. Three American historians — Pulitzer Prizewinning Civil War scholar James McPherson, prominent colonialist John Murrin and African-American expert Nell Irvin Painter — all retired within a span of two academic years.

Elizabeth Lunbeck, who specializes in women's history and the history of psychiatry, left the University for Vanderbilt last summer. Another historian of American women and of the 19th century, Christine Stansell, who has been at the University since 1982, is on leave this year and has accepted a position at the University of Chicago to begin in the fall.

Now the department has begun to search for already-tenured historians from other universities to fill the holes in the U.S. history faculty.

To begin rebuilding the American faculty following the retirements of McPherson, Murrin and Painter, the department hired colonial historian Philip Morgan in 2005. He spent a year at the University before returning to Johns Hopkins, where he had been a tenured full professor since 2000.

The department also recently completed a search for a 20th century political historian, hiring Boston University's Julian Zelizer, who will join the faculty in the fall.
Read entire article at Daily Princetonian

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