Professor of History:
Phone: +1 401 863 1391
Robert Self studies the history of politics and political culture in the post-World War II United States. His work to date has focused on the interaction among social movements, the state, and larger social and cultural shifts in American life in the decades since 1945. He has worked on the black freedom movement, gender and sexual politics, modern conservatism, urban history, and the complex and ongoing struggles over political commitment and engagement in the twentieth century.
Born in North Carolina and raised and educated in the West, I have been fortunate to study and work in many different parts of the country. I teach and write about twentieth-century U.S. history, and my interests range widely over urban history, the history American politics and political culture, and American society and culture in the long post-World War II era. My first book, American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland (Princeton, 2003), won four professional prizes, including the James a. Rawley prize from the Organization of American Historians (OAH). My second book, All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy since the 1960s (Hill and Wang, 2012), is about gender, sexuality, and political culture in the U.S. from 1964 to 2004. I am also the co-author of a college-level textbook, America's History, published by Bedford/St. Martin's.
My most recent book, All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy since the 1960s, takes my interest in political culture and liberalism in new directions. National in scope, the book is an exploration of how the sexual revolution, feminism(s), gay and lesbian liberation, and the new Right transformed American politics between 1964 and 2004. I treat the interaction and collision of these forces as an expansive process that included the multiple gender disruptions of the period: from the Vietnam War's problematic male soldier to the politics of abortion, welfare, black power, and gay liberation. In between the Civil Rights Act (1964), Watts rioting (1965), and the Moynihan Report (1965) and the Bush-era insurgencies of the 2000s, I trace the search for new male and female political subjectivities and the contests over manhood, feminism(s), and gay rights that remade liberalism in the intervening decades.
2008-2009 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship
2007-2008 Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars, American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University
2007-2008 Fellowship, Charles Warren Center, Harvard University (declined)
2006 Edwin and Shirley Seave Faculty Fellow, Pembroke Research Seminar, Brown University
2005 James A. Rawley Prize, Best Book (American Babylon) on U.S. Race Relations, Organization of American Historians
2005 Best Book (American Babylon) in Urban Affairs, Urban Affairs Association
2004 Ralph J. Bunche Award, Best Book (American Babylon) on Ethnic Pluralism, American Political Science Association
2004 Best Book (American Babylon) in North American Urban History, Urban History Association
2000 Best Article in Urban History, Urban History Association
Organization of American Historians (OAH)
American Historical Association (AHA)
I teach courses on the post-1945 U.S., race and urban politics in the post-New Deal era, political movements and political culture in the 20th century, and the role of government in regulating gender, sexuality, and family in American history.
2005 Wriston Curricular Development Grant, Brown University ($3,000)
2005 Richard B. Salomon Faculty Research Award, Brown University ($10,775)
2004 Huntington Library, W. M. Keck Foundation and Andrew Mellon Foundation Fellow ($10,000)
2004 Center for 21st Century Studies Fellow, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (declined)
2002 Graduate School Research Committee, Research Grant, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee ($8,000)
2001 Rackham Summer Interdisciplinary Institute Fellowship, University of Michigan
2000 Office of the Vice President for Research Faculty Grant, University of Michigan ($2,000)
1999 American Philosophical Society, Research Grant ($2,000)
1999 Book Club of California, Manuscript Writing Fellowship ($2,000)
1997 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Dissertation Fellowship ($12,000)
1997 National Science Foundation, Dissertation Grant ($9,500)
1997 Rondeau Evans Dissertation Fellowship, History Department, University of Washington ($1,500)
1995 Harry Bridges Graduate Research Fellowship, University of Washington