Two Rutgers University–Camden scholars have been named to the prestigious Organization of American Historians’ (OAH) Distinguished Lectureship Program for the period of fall 2014 to spring 2017.Patricia Limerick, president-elect of the OAH, has appointed Charlene Mires, an associate professor of history and director of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH) at Rutgers–Camden, and Lorrin Thomas, an associate professor of history and co-director of Latin American and Latino Studies at Rutgers–Camden, to the esteemed speakers bureau.
“This is an amazing accomplishment,” says Kriste Lindenmeyer, dean of the Rutgers–Camden Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “As a historian, I am well aware that most universities and colleges do not have any OAH Distinguished Lecturers. The fact that Rutgers–Camden has two is a reflection of the overall exceptional quality of our history department.”
Since 1981, OAH presidents have invited their most illustrious and dynamic colleagues to join the program, making it one of the longest running and most successful efforts of its kind among scholarly associations.
“These invitations attest to the significance of Lorrin Thomas’ and Charlene Mires’ scholarship and the mark that they are making in the field of history,” says Laurie Bernstein, chair of the Department of History at Rutgers–Camden.
The appointment will provide the Rutgers–Camden scholars with a unique opportunity to share their research with audiences both in and outside academia. OAH Distinguished Lecturers speak at engagements throughout the country each year, addressing undergraduate and graduate student conferences, as well as leading teacher seminars, and engaging general audiences at public events sponsored by historical societies, museums, libraries, and humanities councils.
In addition to reaching wider audiences, the lectures raise funds for the organization's initiatives on behalf of historians. OAH Distinguished Lecturers agree to present one lecture per academic year for three years and donate any speaking fees to the OAH.Mires’ expertise focuses on U.S. culture and material culture in the 19th and 20th centuries; U.S. social and political history from the 1820s to 1880s; U.S. popular culture in the 20th century, and world history. She also conducts research and teaches courses in public history, and urban and suburban history.
As director of MARCH, Mires shepherds the organization’s mission to support humanities research, programming, training, and communication. A co-recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in journalism in 1983, she is editor-in-chief of MARCH’s digital Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia and the author of Independence Hall in American Memory and Capital of the World: The Race to Host the United Nations.Thomas’ research explores ideas about rights and equality in the 20th-century Americas. Her first book, Puerto Rican Citizen: History and Political Identity in Twentieth Century New York City, explores the complex meanings of citizenship for Puerto Ricans in the United States. The book was the winner of the Saloutos Prize of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and received an honorable mention from the Casa de las Américas. Her forthcoming book is a study of the politics of human rights around the Americas in the wake of the social and political movements of the 1960s.