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Amy S. Greenberg

Amy S. Greenberg

George Winfree Professor of American History

315 Weaver Building
University Park , PA 16802

Curriculum Vitae

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Education:

  1. BA, University of California, 1989
  2. MA, Harvard University, 1990
  3. PhD, Harvard University, 1995

Biography:

I am a historian of antebellum America (1800-1860) with a particular interest in the relationship between the United States and the rest of the world in the decades before the Civil War. My research has been chronologically focused (why stray from the most fascinating period in American history?) but topically broad. I have published five books: a biography of a politically powerful First Lady (Lady First: The World of First Lady Sarah Polk), a narrative history of the U.S.-Mexican War (A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico), an investigation into the role that the ideology of manifest destiny played in both foreign affairs and American society at home (Manifest Manhood and the Antebellum American Empire), and a study the relationship between gender, culture, and urbanization (Cause for Alarm: The Volunteer Fire Department in the Nineteenth-Century City). I have also published a general history of the territorial expansion of the United States (Manifest Destiny and American Territorial Expansion: A Brief History with Documents). I tend to focus on the transformation of gender roles in most of my work, from female political power across the nineteenth century to the role of masculinity in volunteer firefighting in 1820s Baltimore and William Walker's Nicaraguan filibustering adventures in the mid-1850s, but am also intrigued by partisan politics and the growth of America’s empire. I am currently researching and writing a history of nineteenth-century attitudes towards imperialism, focused on ordinary Americans. I love to lead class discussions on primary sources, and try to integrate visual images into all my lectures. In 1999 Penn State awarded me the George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2009 I was named a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow. And I am currently President-Elect of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.

 

Recent Publications:

Lady First: The World of First Lady Sarah Polk (Alfred A. Knopf/Vintage Books, 2019).

 A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico, (Alfred A. Knopf/Vintage

Books, fall 2012). Main selection: History Book of the Month Club. Selection: Book of the Month Club, Military Book of the Month Club.

Manifest Destiny and American Territorial Expansion: A Brief History with Documents. The Bedford
Series in History and Culture (Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2012)

Manifest Manhood and the Antebellum American Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2005)

 

Awards and Service:

President, Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (2020-2021)

OAH China Residency Program, Fujian Normal University (2019)

Elected Member, Society of American Historians, (2015)

National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Award (2018)

Class of 1933 Distinction in the Humanities Award, Penn State University (2014)

Myra Bernath Biennial Book Prize, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (2014)

Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer (2014)

Robert M. Utley Award, Western History Association (2013)

Best Book Prize, Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (2013)

L.A. Times Book Prize, finalist (2013)

National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Fellowship (2012)

Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (2009)

American Philosophical Society Sabbatical Fellowship (2009-2010)

Top Young Historian Profile, History News Network (2005)

Gilder Lehrman Fellowship, New York Historical Society (2005)



Recent Courses:

HIST 266y: Sex and Violence in Nineteenth Century America

HIST302w: The U.S.-Mexican War

HIST442 - The Early American Republic

HIST444 - The United States in Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)

HIST467 - Latin America and the United States

HIST543 - Graduate Course in Antebellum American History 

Research Interests:

Social, Cultural, & Political History of the Nineteenth-Century United States; U.S. & the World, Gender History; American Territorial Expansionism & Manifest Destiny; Latin America & the United States.

Areas of Specialization:

Nineteenth Century U.S.: