| Yale University|
Toni Hahn Davis (m. 1971)
| February 16, 1927 (age 88)
Denver, Colorado (1927-02-16) |
Martha Davis Beck, Adam Jeffrey Davis, Noah Benjamin Davis, Sarah Brion Davis, Jeremiah Jonathan Davis
Clyde Brion Davis, Martha Wirt Davis
Harvard University (1951–1956), Dartmouth College
Isabel Brion Davis, Charles Nelson Davis
The Problem of Slavery in, Inhuman Bondage: The Rise, Slavery and human progress, Challenging the boundari, In the Image of God
David Brion Davis Wikipedia
David Brion Davis (born February 16, 1927) is an American intellectual and cultural historian, and a leading authority on slavery and abolition in the Western world. He is a Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University, and founder and director emeritus of Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. The author and editor of 17 books, he received the 1967 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, and the National Humanities Medal, presented by President Barack Obama in 2014 for "reshaping our understanding of history." He also received the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction, the 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for lifetime achievement in contributions to public understanding of racism and appreciation of cultural diversity, and the 2015 Biennial Coif Book Award, a top honor from the Association of American Law Schools for the leading law-related book published in 2013 and 2014.
In the White House ceremony in which he conferred the National Humanities Medal, President Obama praised Davis for shedding "light on the contradiction of a Union founded on liberty, yet existing half-slave and half-free." He also declared that Davis's "examinations of slavery and abolitionism drive us to keep making moral progress in our time." At age 89, Davis sat with eight other honorands, including Steven Spielberg, before an audience of 35,000 at the Harvard Commencement on May 26, 2016 where he received an honorary doctorate degree.
A frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, his books emphasize religious and ideological links among material conditions, political interests, and new political values. Ideology, in his view, is not a deliberate distortion of reality or a façade for material interests; rather, it is the conceptual lens through which groups of people perceive the world around them.
After serving on the Cornell University faculty for 14 years, Davis taught at Yale from 1970 to 2001. He has held one-year appointments as the Harold Vyvyan Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at Oxford University (1969-1970), at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and as the first French-American Foundation Chair in American Civilization at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.
Born in Denver in 1927, the son of the journalist, novelist, and screenwriter Clyde Brion Davis, and the artist and writer Martha Wirt Davis, Davis lived a peripatetic childhood in California, Colorado, New York, Colorado, and Washington State. He attended five high schools in four years but was popular among his peers. Davis was drafted in the U.S. Army in June 1945, and was assigned to the occupation of Germany in 1945-46. Since he knew some German he was assigned to police civilians. On the troop ship to France in fall 1945 he personally witnessed segregation and mistreatment of black soldiers.
In an essay in the 1968 American Historical Review entitled “Some Recent Directions in American Cultural History,” Davis urged historians to devote more attention to the cultural dimension to enhance understanding of social controversies, political decision-making, and literary expression. At a time when social history was ascendant, and cultural history was associated with the study of the arts, taste, and popular culture, and intellectual history with the study of abstract ideas largely divorced from specific social contexts, he called for a history that focused on beliefs, values, fears, aspirations, and emotions.
Antebellum American Culture (1979), his panoramic look at the cultural discourse surrounding ethnicity, gender, family, race, science, and wealth and power in the pre-Civil War United States, advanced the argument that American culture needs to be understood in terms of an ongoing “moral civil war.” Diverse groups of Americans debated “what was happening, who was doing what to whom, what to fear and what to fight for.” He suggests that a relatively small group of Northeastern writers, preachers, and reformers in the 19th century United States ultimately succeeded in defining a set of middle-class norms regarding education, taste, sex roles, sensibility, and moral respectability.
University of Maryland historian Ira Berlin write that “no scholar has played a larger role in expanding contemporary understanding of how slavery shaped the history of the United States, the Americas, and the world than David Brion Davis.” In a series of landmark books, articles, and lectures, Davis moved beyond a view of slavery that focuses on the institution in individual nations to look at the “big picture,” the multinational view of the origins, development, and abolition of New World slavery. He is committed to a conception of culture as process—-a process involving conflict, resistance, invention, accommodation, appropriation, and, above all, power, including the power of ideas. Culture, in his view, involves a cacophony of voices but also social relations that involve hierarchy, exploitation, and resistance.
Davis taught more than a generation of students, and advised many doctoral students, including such prize-winning historians as Edward Ayers, Karen Halttunen, T. J. Jackson Lears, Steven Mintz, Lewis Perry, Joan Shelley Rubin, Jonathan Sarna, Barbara Savage, Amy Dru Stanley, Christine Stansell, John Stauffer, and Sean Wilentz. Davis’s students have honored him with two festschrifts, Moral Problems in American Life (1998), edited by Karen Halttunen and Lewis Perry, and The Problem of Evil: Slavery, Freedom, and the Ambiguities of Reform (2007), edited by Steven Mintz and John Stauffer.Instructor, Dartmouth College, 1953-1954
Assistant Professor, Cornell University, 1955-1958
Associate Professor, Cornell University, 1958-1963
Ernest I. White Professor of History, Cornell University, 1963-1969
Farnum Professor of History, Yale University, 1969-1978
Sterling Professor of History, Yale University, 1978-2001
Director, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, Yale University, 1998-2004
Anisfield-Wolf Award, 1967
Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction, 1967 (The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture)
Mass Media Award, National Conference of Christians and Jews, 1967
American Historical Association Albert J. Beveridge Award, 1975
Bancroft Prize, 1976
National Book Award in History and Biography, 1976 (The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution)
Presidential Medal, Dartmouth College, 1991
Society of American Historians Bruce Catton Prize for Lifetime Achievement, 2004
Kidger Award for Improving the Teaching of History, 2004
Association of American Publishers Best Book in History Award 2006
American Historical Association Scholarly Achievement Award, 2007
Connecticut Book Award for Nonfiction, 2007
Phi Beta Kappa Society Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, 2007
Harvard University Centennial Medal of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 2009
Association of American Publishers Excellence Award, 2010
Yale University Phi Beta Kappa DeVane Teaching Award 2011
National Humanities Medal, presented by President Barack Obama at the White House ceremony in 2014
National Book Critics Circle Award winner for The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation, 2015
Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Lifetime Achievement, 2015
Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Award for Lifetime Achievement, 2015
Biennial Coif Book Award, Association of American Law Schools, 2015
2016, Honorary Doctorate, Harvard University (awarded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on May 26, 2016).
Guggenheim Fellow, 1958-1959
Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, 1972-1973
Fulbright grantee, 1980
NEH fellow, 1983-1984
Gilder-Lehrman Inaugural Fellow, 1996-1997
Fulbright Senior Lecturer, American Studies Research Centre, Hyderabad, India, 1967
Harmsworth Professor, Oxford University, 1969-1970
French-American Foundation Chair in American Civilization, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, 1980-1981
Fulbright Lecturer, University of Guyana and University of the West Indies, 1974
Honorary Degree, Dartmouth College, 1977
Honorary Degree, University of New Haven, 1986
President, Organization of American Historians, 1988-1989
Presidential Medal for Leadership and Achievement, Dartmouth College, 1991
Honorary Degree, Columbia University, 1999
Honorary Degree, Harvard University, 2016
Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Fellow, American Antiquarian Society
Fellow, American Philosophical Society
Fellow (corr.), British Academy
Homicide in American Fiction, 1798-1860: A Study in Social Values, Cornell University Press, 1957; paperback ed., 1968.
The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture, Cornell University Press, 1966. 1967 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. History Book Club selection, 1967, paperback ed., 1969; Penguin British ed., 1970; Spanish and Italian translations; Oxford University Press, revised ed., 1988. A new Spanish edition appeared in 1996 and a Brazilian Portuguese edition in 2001. online edition from ACLS E-Books
Ante-Bellum Reform (editor), Harper and Row, 1967.
The Slave Power Conspiracy and the Paranoid Style, Louisiana State University Press, 1969. Paperback ed., 1982.
Was Thomas Jefferson an Authentic Enemy of Slavery? (pamphlet), Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1970.
The Fear of Conspiracy: Images of Un-American Subversion from the Revolution to the Present(editor). Cornell University Press, 1971; paperback ed., 1972.
The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823, Cornell University Press, 1975; paperback ed., 1976. History Book Club and Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selections. Oxford University Press edition, with a new preface, 1999.
The Great Republic, “Part III, Expanding the Republic, 1820-1860,” a two-volume textbook by Bernard Bailyn and five other historians; D.C. Heath, textbook, 1977. History Book Club selection, 1977. Second ed., wholly revised, 1981. Third ed., wholly revised, 1985. Fourth ed., wholly revised, 1992.
Antebellum American Culture: An Interpretive Anthology,Antebellum American Culture: An Interpretive Anthology, D.C. Heath, 1979; new edition, Pennsylvania State Press, 1997.
Slavery and the Idea of Progress (address to the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and Religion, February 28, 1979) read online
The Emancipation Moment (pamphlet), Gettysburg College, 1984.
Slavery and Human Progress, Oxford University Press, 1984. History Book Club alternate selection. Paperback ed., 1986.
Slavery in the Colonial Chesapeake (pamphlet), Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1986.
From Homicide to Slavery: Studies in American Culture, Oxford University Press, 1986.
Revolutions: Reflections on American Equality and Foreign Liberations, Harvard University Press, 1990. German translation, 1993.
Co-author, The Antislavery Debate: Capitalism and Abolitionism as a Problem in Historical Interpretation, ed. Thomas Bender. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1992.
The Boisterous Sea of Liberty: A Documentary History of America from Discovery Through the Civil War, co-editor Steven Mintz, Oxford University Press, 1998.
In the Image of God: Religion, Moral Values, and Our Heritage of Slavery, Yale University Press, 2001.
Challenging The Boundaries Of Slavery, Harvard University Press, 2003.
Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World, Oxford University Press, 2006
The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation, Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.
The Problem of Slavery. Introduction to Oxford Press' An Historical Guide to World Slavery, ed. Drescher and Engerman; read online