Paul Buhle, Emeritus
Senior Lecturer, American Civilization:
Phone: +1 401 863 3994
My current research covers several different areas: a history of Jewish Americans and popular culture (forthcoming three volumes to be edited for publication, and a coffee table volume, Jews and American Comics, for a university press); vernacular visual culture (a forthcoming biography of editor/artist Harvey Kurtzman); ecological history (essays in the eco-journal CNS); U.S. labor history (essays in various journals) and political history.
I have been active in social movements since the appearance of the civil rights movement in my hometown of Champaign, Illinois, in 1960, and activity within the civil rights, peace, environmental, and labor movements, along with alternative cultures, has guided much of my research activity. The first and second journals that I edited and published during the 1960s and 1970s stressed the history of radical movements and the progressive potential of popular culture, respectively. At present, I am a regular contributor to two journals, TIKKUN and CNS (an environmental journal), while writing also for a wide variety of publications including The Chronicle of Higher Education, the San Francisco Chronicle (book section), The Guardian (UK), The Nation, New Labor Forum, The Oral History Review, among others.
My work has also been connected frequently with oral history: in 1976 I founded Oral History of the American Left at Tamiment Library, New York University; I created an oral history archive at the Rhode Island Historical Society around working class life in Rhode Island; and my students, in the last several years, have begun a major project that we call "Underground Rhode Island," the alternative cultures and arts of Rhode Island, encompassing interracial, gay and lesbian cultures, experimental art, music, comics and so on.
From the 30 volumes I have published, I would mention five on the history of the Hollywood Blacklist victims and their work (best known: Radical Hollywood); four biographies, including authorized biographies of the Pan Africanist C.L.R. James and the noir filmmaker, Abraham Polonsky; the Encyclopedia of the American Left (2 editions); and several works on Rhode Island. Collections of my personal and editorial activities are held at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin and Tamiment Library, New York University. Four more works, including pictorial biographies of Emma Goldman and Isadora Duncan, a graphic version of Howard Zinn's People's History of the US and a history of the Students for a Democratic Society are now in the first stages of production with a variety of artists.
My current research covers several different areas: a history of Jewish Americans and popular culture (forthcoming three volumes to be edited for publication, and a coffee table volume, JEWS AND AMERICAN COMICS, for a university press); vernacular visual culture (a forthcoming biography of editor/artist Harvey Kurtzman); ecological history (essays in the eco-journal CNS); U.S. labor history (essays in various journals) and political history. My ongoing research is scheduled to appear in Tim Hector: Caribbean Radical (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2006); and SDS, a History in comic form (scriptwriter and editor; New York: Hill Wang, 2008). My research specialties have also allowed me editorial appointments in other forthcoming publications, Jews in American Popular Culture (three volumes; Westport: Praeger/Greenwood, 2007); and The Empire and the People, a pictorial version of Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States (New York: Holt, 2007)
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1975
Two of my anthologies, C.L.R. James's Caribbean (co-edited with Paget Henry, 1992), and The new left revisited (co-edited with John McMillian) have won CHOICE magazine Scholarly (Outstanding Academic Title) Book awards.
I have also been awarded grants from the Ford Foundation (1969), the National Endowment for the Humanities (1982-83 and 1984-85), the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities (1986 and 1990), the Harburg Foundation (1995 and 1996), and Brown University (faculty grant, 2000-2001).
Selected curatorships, media positions, and professional editorial appointments in the field include the followings:
Founder and editor, Radical America, 1967-73, and associate, 1973-95.
Founder and editor, Cultural Correspondence, 1975-81.
Project co-director (with Mari Jo Buhle), "Grandma Was an Activist," oral history radio series, New York, 1982-83.
Curator, International Humor Art Show, 1982-84, New York, Seattle, Berkeley, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and San Francisco showings.
Narrator, "Voices of the Left" museum show, Museum of American Political Life, University of Hartford, 1990-91.
Historian, "Vanishing Rhode Island," historical photographic exhibit,
Slater Mill and traveling, or on occasional exhibit, Slater Mill, Spring 1994 onward.
Editorial board member, CLR James Journal (1997-present)
Coordinator (teacher), "Underground Rhode Island," Rhode Island Historical Society, Newport Art Museum and John Nicholas Brown Center for the Study of American Civilization; also website, 2004.
I have taught courses at Brown since 1996 in oral history, the history of social movements, the 1960s, and American film. Following my teaching assistant positions at the University of Connecticut and University of Wisconsin, I taught fulltime at Cambridge-Goddard Graduate School (1971-73) and intermittently thereafter at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Some recent courses I taught include, "Theory and Methods of Oral History", "Class, Culture, and Society", and "The Sixties Without Apology". (The syllabus is online at http://webct.brown.edu/public/Spring05_AC0161_S07/index.html)
"The Oral History of the American Left" project that I launched at New York University's Tamiment Library received several fellowships, notably two (1982-83 and 1984-85) from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
My research has been funded by grants from the Ford Foundation (1969), the American Council of Learned Societies (Ethnic History, 1976), the National Endowment for the Humanities (1982 and 1984), the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities (labor and landscape, 1987 and 1990), the Harburg Foundation (1995 and 1996), Brown University (faculty grant, 2000-2001), and the Rubin Foundation (Industrial Workers of the World graphic art, 2005) among others.