Visiting Scholar - Thomas Bender (2010)

Thomas Bender

Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar: Thomas Bender

Thomas Bender joined the faculty of New York University in 1974, where he now holds the position of University Professor of the Humanities and professor of history.  He has been a visiting professor at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris and at the University of Venice.  At NYU he has also served as chair of the history department and Dean for Humanities. He has held fellowships at Princeton’s Davis Center for Historical Studies, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, as well as a Getty Scholar and holder of fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations.  He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


His research interests span the history of cities, intellectual and cultural history, including the history of universities and academic disciplines, urban culture, forms of narrative in history, and, most recently, the global context of American history.  Publications include A Nation Among Nations:  America’s Place in World HistoryRethinking American History in a Global Age; New York Intellect; The Unfinished City:  New York and the Metropolitan Idea; and American Higher Education Transformed, 1940-2005.  He is on the editorial boards of the Journal of American History and Modern Intellectual History.

Public Lecture: Putting the United States into World History

This lecture will outline the close relation of the discipline of history to the making of the modern nation-state and the gradual move way from that tight bond. In the past twenty years, however, historians-prompted, I think, by talk of multiculturalism and globalization--have been encouraged to explore more transnational approaches to American history. These developments have even suggested a new definition of national history as the sum or integration of histories larger and smaller than the nation. More generally, I will argue that American history is inseparable from global history and provide illustrations of how this produces significant interpretations of major events in American history, including the American Revolution and the Civil War.