The Executive Board of the Organization of American Historians has appointed Beth English, past president of the Southern Labor Studies Association and currently a project director and lecturer at Princeton University, as the Organization’s new Executive Director. English will begin her term September 1, 2020. She takes over the role from Katherine Finley, who retired on June 30, 2020, after serving as OAH Executive Director since 2010.
“Beth English is a talented scholar, public historian, teacher, and administrator, who will be a wonderful successor to Katherine Finley,” says Ed Ayers, chair of the search committee, past president of the OAH, and Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities, University of Richmond. “The search committee is confident that the OAH and the Journal of American History—strong and innovative—will flourish under Beth’s leadership.”
English arrives at OAH after serving in successive roles at Princeton since 2005, most recently as the Director of the Project on Gender in the Global Community at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, and as Lecturer in the Princeton Writing Program. She is also a volunteer humanities instructor with the Princeton Prison Teaching Initiative. English served as President of the Southern Labor Studies Association from 2015 to 2017.
English received her PhD in United States History in 2003 from the College of William & Mary, where she was a Glucksman Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor. Her research and teaching focus on historical and contemporary labor and working-class issues, gender, the U.S. South, and globalization. She is the author of A Common Thread: Labor, Politics, and Capital Mobility in the Textile Industry (University of Georgia, 2006) and most recently co-editor of Global Women’s Work: Perspectives on Gender and Work in the Global Economy (Routledge, 2018). Her article, “‘I … Have a Lot of Work to Do’: Cotton Mill Work and Women’s Culture in Matoaca, Virginia, 1888–1895,” was recognized as one of the OAH’s Best American History Essays in 2008. She is the founder and host of “Working History,” a podcast on the New Books Network produced by the Southern Labor Studies Association.
English’s research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the International Labour Organization.