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American Studies Alumnus Named Dean at UMBC

September 9, 2013

Scott E. Casper (PhD 1992, American Studies) is the new dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where he promotes interdisciplinary teaching and research; supervises strategic planning and budget development; oversees faculty recruitment and tenure, teaching, research, and more.

His own research explores the ways 19th-century Americans understood and commemorated the past, both in written texts and at historical sites. He is author of Sarah Johnson’s Mount Vernon: The Forgotten History of an American Shrine (Hill & Wang, 2008). His first book, Constructing American Lives: Biography and Culture in Nineteenth-Century America (University of North Carolina Press, 1999), explores what biography meant to American biographers, critics, publishers, and readers from the founding of the nation to the turn of the 20th century. This book won the SHARP Book Prize from the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing.

Casper is a specialist in American book history: the study of printing, publishing, authorship, and reading in the United States. He co-edited Perspectives on American Book History: Artifacts and Commentary (University of Massachusetts Press, 2002), the first major textbook designed for courses in American book history; and A History of the Book in America, Volume 3 (The Book, 1840-1880). He was associate editor of The Oxford Companion to the Book (2010), responsible for all the U.S.-related entries in this global reference work.

He has held research fellowships at the National Humanities Center and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, among other institutions, and edits the annual “Textbooks and Teaching” section of the Journal of American History. He currently chairs the Advisory Board for the SAT Examination in U.S. History and serves as a delegate to the American Council of Learned Societies. He has worked extensively with K-12 history and social studies educators.

He joined UMBC from the University of Nevada, Reno, where he was a member of the faculty from 1992 to 2013, chaired the faculty senate and the history department, and served as interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts. He earned his AB from Princeton before coming to Yale for graduate studies.