Franklin & Marshall’s weekly online newsletter
Gosse Named Distinguished Lecturer
Van Gosse, associate professor of history
Associate Professor of History Van Gosse, who has enjoyed a wide-ranging career in academia and the nonprofit sector, was recently named a distinguished lecturer by the Organization of American Historians (OAH). As a distinguished lecturer, Gosse becomes part of a speakers bureau comprising some of the leading historians in the country.
“I am honored that my work has received some meaningful attention, and that it’s having some impact,” Gosse says.
The OAH is the largest professional society dedicated to the teaching and study of American history. Founded in 1907, its mission is to promote excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history, and to encourage wide discussion of historical questions and equitable treatment of all practitioners of history.
“This is great for the department, and great for F&M,” says Doug Anthony, associate professor of history and department chair. “It’s also a wonderful honor for Van to get this recognition from his colleagues at the national level. Look at the cohort of historians who also received the honor this year and you see some big names, like Nancy McLean at Duke and Jim Oakes at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Van is now permanently associated with them.”
Gosse’s research has focused on several overlapping areas, including American political development and the African-American struggle for citizenship, American culture and society in the Cold War era and since, and U.S. social movements after World War II (the New Left).
His current book project on black politics in antebellum America evolved from his desire to address the question of whether African-Americans would ever be, or could ever be, “first-class citizens.”
“I set out to write a book called Black Power in White America,” Gosse says. “But as I began to write, I knew that I had to talk about what came before the Civil War, including black voters and their role in the political parties if that era. There were so many tidbits that the introductory chapter became much longer.”
Gosse turned the book into a comprehensive analysis of black politics before the Civil War. His forthcoming work is called We Are Americans: Black Politics in Antebellum America.
Gosse remains active away from his research, both at F&M and elsewhere. He has spent three decades working on issues related to democracy and peace, co-founding Historians Against the War in 2003 and working on the steering committee for United Peace and Justice. He is also a regular contributor to The Huffington Post.
At F&M, Gosse continues to serve as a co-chair for F&M Votes, a joint effort by students and faculty aimed at turning out the student body on Election Day.
“The College is proud of F&M Votes, and it should be,” Gosse says. “John Fry and others did a tremendous job of supporting it, and great people have kept it going. We have wonderful student leaders, faculty members and staff.”