“Chercher? Pas seulement: créer.” – Marcel Proust (1913)
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European historian, university professor, college administrator ... I have a lot to live down. It starts with a privileged past of family relations on Boston's North Shore, in New York and environs, and then in the Washington, DC, area. After several generations of faith, hard work, energy, curiosity, and (some) great good luck, my parents in turn made all things possible for their progeny (I am the youngest of four). To this heritage, the prodigal child in me is indeed grateful, especially without a family of my own. No matter. My spouse Anne and I are privileged in other ways, most certainly in hard-earned cultural capital from the study of language and its uses at home and abroad. This apposition of past and present, in time and space, is well worth heeding to live down (or up to) a long career in higher education and the historical profession.
Author of four monographs, two book-length translations, and more than forty scholarly articles, I have written and taught modern French social and cultural history for the past 30 years. It has been a job with soul -- and the bounty of more than $1.2 million in funding, most of it from competitive sources, for research and instruction. Generous recognition by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Phi Kappa Phi, among others, is more than I could have wished. Moreover, as coordinator of Southern Illinois University's self-study, I oversaw my home institution's most recent re-accreditation by the North Central Association's Higher Learning Commission. Thanks to that endeavor, the school, I believe, is a much better place to work and to learn.