Dr. Gary Gerstle, the James G. Stahlman Professor of American History and professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, will be the guest lecturer for the 2012 University of South Alabama Howard F. Mahan Lecture Series to be held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16, at the USA Laidlaw Performing Arts Center Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
Gerstle has been named by Oxford University as the Harmsworth Professor of American History for 2012-2013. He will lecture at USA on “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, and Your Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe Free: The Alabama Immigration Law in Historical Perspective.” Gerstle is a historian with a focus on three major areas—immigration, race and nationality; the significance of class in social and political life; and social movements.
Gerstle has just been appointed a Goldman Sachs Fellow by The Smithsonian for 2012. He will work with curators to develop the intellectual foundation and research agenda for a major exhibit on immigration to be installed in the National Museum of American History in 2014-2015.
He is also author, co-author, and co-editor of six books and the author of more than 30 articles, including “Working-Class Americanism,” which explores issues of class, ethnicity, and Americanization among workers and their unions during the Great Depression. Gerstle’s prize winning work on immigration and ethnic history is the “American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century.”
Gerstle is currently writing “Governing America,” an interpretive history of national and state government power in the United States from the Revolution to the present. Once this book is completed, he will work to complete a project on race and nation in the United States, Cuba and Mexico, 1180-1940, which is the first installment in the “Nationalism in the Americas.”
He has received numerous fellowships, including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and a membership in the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.
He has served as visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociale in Paris. He has lectured throughout the United States and in Canada, England, France, Belgium, Korea, Germany, the Netherland, Italy, Brazil, Japan, and South Africa. Gerstle has lectured widely to the general public, and is often consulted by newspapers reporter, magazine writers, and television producers on his areas of historical expertise.
Gerstle has also taught at the University of Maryland, where he was the director of the center for historical studies and chair of the department of history.