Program Administration

Delbanco, Andrew
Amdur, Robert

Casey Blake
Darling, Angela

Board of Advisors

Alden, Jenna
Amdur, Robert
Dee, Joanna
Delbanco, Andrew
De Santis, Alicia
Hay, John
Mann, Tamara
Montàs, Roosevelt
Paley, Valerie
Smallwood, Christine
Spiegel, Maura
Lindsay Van Tine

Committee of
Affiliated Faculty

Rachel Adams
Robert Amdur
Casey N. Blake
Alan Brinkley
Andrew Delbanco
Robert A. Ferguson
Eric Foner
Todd Gitlin
Farah Griffin
Alice Kessler-Harris
Roosevelt Montas
Sarah Phillips
Ross Posnock
Wayne Proudfoot
Rosalind Rosenberg
Maura Spiegel

Program Administration


Director of American Studies


Professor Andrew Delbanco, winner of the 2006 Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates, is the author of Melville: His World and Work (2005), which won the Lionel Trilling Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in biography. The Death of Satan (1995), Required Reading: Why Our American Classics Matter Now (1997), and The Real American Dream (1999) were named notable books by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. The Puritan Ordeal (1989) won the Lionel Trilling Award. Among his edited books are Writing New England (2001), The Portable Abraham Lincoln (1992), volume two of The Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson (with Teresa Toulouse), and, with Alan Heimert, The Puritans in America (1985).

Andrew Delbanco's essays appear regularly in The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, Raritan, and other journals, on topics ranging from American literary and religious history to contemporary issues in higher education. In 2001, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and named by Time Magazine as "America's Best Social Critic." In 2003, he was named New York State Scholar of the Year by the New York Council for the Humanities.

Professor Delbanco has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was a member of the inaugural class of fellows at the New York Public Library Center for Scholars and Writers. He is a trustee of the National Humanities Center and the Library of America, and has served as Vice President of PEN American Center. Since 1995 he has held the Julian Clarence Levi Professor Chair in the Humanities at Columbia University.

His most recent book, Melville: His World and Work, was published in the United States (2005) by Alfred A. Knopf. It appeared in Britain under the Picador imprint, and has been translated into German and Spanish.



Associate Director and Chair, Board of Advisors

Chair, Service Learning Committee


Assistant Director of American Studies

Board of Advisors

The Board of Advisors for American Studies includes Professors Delbanco and Adams as well as the following personnel:

Jenna Alden is a Ph.D. candidate in US History. She graduated from Wesleyan University in 2000, having majored in American Studies and written a senior thesis about the design and marketing of the minivan. After working for a few years as curatorial assistant at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York, she started Columbia's Ph.D. program in (20th-century) American History in September 2004. Her interests include the history of psychology, 20th-century religious movements, and corporate culture. She is working on a history of postwar sensitivity training.

Joanna Dee is a PhD candidate in History at Columbia University, focusing on twentieth century cultural history, both US and international. She received her BA in Dance and History in 2005 from Columbia, and her MA in American Studies in 2008 from NYU. She was also a member of the Tze Chun dance company from 2006-2008, and has presented her own choreography at various theaters in New York City and St. Louis.

Alicia DeSantis is a Ph.D. candidate in English and American Literature at Columbia. She graduated from Harvard in 2000 and then moved to New York, where she worked as a graphic designer. She writes about literature, but also about photography, illustration and journalism, particularly in the 19th century.

John Hay received his B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, where he majored in English Literature and the History & Philosophy of Science. He is now in his third year of graduate study in Columbia's English Department. John's research interests include nineteenth-century American literature and connections between literature and science (especially evolutionary biology).

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B.A., Duke University (2001); M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School (2005).  Tamara Mann is a Ph.D. candidate in American History. Her research interests include philanthropic history, legal history, and American intellectual and cultural history. Tamara recently received the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award from the Association of American Colleges and Universities for her dedication to teaching and mentorship.

A.B., Columbia, (1995), M.A., Columbia (1996), Ph.D., Columbia (2004). Roosevelt Montás specializes in Antebellum American literature and culture, with a specific interest in citizenship and American national identity. His dissertation, "Rethinking America: Abolitionism and the Antebellum Transformation of the Discourse of National Identity," won the 2004 Bancroft Award. He is also Director of Columbia?s Center for the Core Curriculum, where he has taught both Literature Humanities and Contemporary Civilization. He is currently writing on the interrelated biographies Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, and Charles Sumner. He also lectures and writes on the history and future of liberal arts education.

Valerie Paley is a Ph.D. candidate in US History who is currently working on a dissertation on cultural philanthropy in New York City. Her interests include urban and NYC history, US intellectual history, and oral history. From 2002 until 2008, she was the editor of the New-York Journal of American History, published by the New-York Historical Society. Ms. Paley holds an MA in American Studies from Columbia, and an AB in English and Psychology from Vassar. A native New Yorker, she was a professional ballet and modern dancer as well as a graphic designer before pursuing advanced studies.

Christine Smallwood is a PhD candidate in English and American literature. Before starting the program at Columbia, she was a journalist, working from 2005 to 2008 as Associate Literary Editor at The Nation. She has written for The Nation, Bookforum, the Los Angeles Times Book Review and other publications, and publishes a regular interview series with authors, artists and cultural figures in The Nation called Back Talk. She was also the founding editor of a now-defunct quarterly journal, The Crier. Her interests include 19th and 20th century American literature and intellectual history.

Maura Spiegel teaches the Introduction to American Studies, and various courses in contemporary American Fiction, American literature of the Progressive Era and of the Nineteenth Century. She also teaches and writes about American film. She is the Co-Editor of the journal Literature and Medicine, and she is involved with the Narrative Medicine Program at Columbia's School of Physicians and Surgeons. She has special interests in American photography, stand-up comedy, the city in literature and film and the dynamics between history and memory.

B.A., Spanish Literature and Anthropology, University of Virginia (2005); M.A., English, University of Virginia (2008). Lindsay Van Tine is a PhD student in the department of English & Comparative Literature focusing on 19th- and 20th-century American literature and culture. She is particularly interested in comparative, hemispheric approaches to American Studies; research interests include national identity, migration, and translation.


Interdepartmental Committee of Affiliated Faculty

Rachel Adams   (English)
Robert Amdur   (Political Science)
Casey N. Blake   (History)
Alan Brinkley   (History)
Andrew Delbanco   (English)
Robert A. Ferguson   (Law)
Eric Foner   (History)
Todd Gitlin   (Journalism and Sociology)
Farah Griffin   (English and African-American Studies)
Alice Kessler-Harris   (History and Women's Studies)
Roosevelt Montas   (Core Curriculum and English)
Ross Posnock   (English )
Wayne Proudfoot   (Religion)
Rosalind Rosenberg   (History)
Maura Spiegel   (English)