Peter Stearns

Title: ex-officio


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Peter N. Stearns became Provost and Professor of History at George Mason University on January 1, 2000; he was named University Professor in January 2011. He has taught previously at Harvard, the University of Chicago, Rutgers, and Carnegie Mellon; he was educated at Harvard University.

Dr. Stearns has authored or edited over 110 books. He has published widely in modern social history, including the history of emotions, and in world history. Representative recent or forthcoming works include: Satisfaction Not Guaranteed: Dilemmas of Progress in Modern Society; Doing Emotions History; and Demilitarization in Modern History. He has also edited encyclopedias of world and social history, and since 1967 has served as editor-in-chief of The Journal of Social History.

In most of his research and writing, Dr. Stearns pursues three main goals. First, as a social historian he is eager to explore aspects of the human experience that are not generally thought of in historical terms, and with attention to ordinary people as well as elites. Second, he seeks to use an understanding of historical change and continuity to explore patterns of behavior and social issues. Finally he is concerned with connecting new historical research with wider audiences, including of course classrooms. Dr. Stearns is also eager to promote comparative analysis and the assessment of modern global forces – for their own sake and as they illuminate the American experience and impact.

During Dr. Stearns’ tenure as Provost, Mason has more than tripled its level of funded research and has tripled its number of doctoral programs. Expanding global partnerships include a growing number of dual degree programs and elaborate connections with students and universities in countries like China, Turkey, South Korea and Brazil.