Distinguished Lecturers
Steven Conn

Steven Conn

Steven Conn is the W. E. Smith Professor of History at Miami University of Ohio. Previously he was a member of the history department at Ohio State University. He teaches intellectual, cultural, urban, and public history. He is also the founding editor of the monthly online magazine, Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective. That magazine has spun off a new web-based project titled "Picturing Black History," a collaboration between Origins and Getty Images, found here: picturingblackhistory.org. He is the author of six monographs, including Americans against the City: Anti-urbanism in the Twentieth Century (2014) and Do Museums Still Need Objects? (2010), and the editor of To Promote the General Welfare: The Case for Big Government (2012) and Building the Nation: Americans Write about Their Architecture, Their Cities, and Their Landscape (2003). His most recent book (2019) tracks how business schools have consistently failed to live up to their promises to train a professional class of businessmen. Titled Nothing Succeeds Like Failure: The Sad History of American Business Schools, the book has already stirred a fair amount of controversy. His newest book "The Lies of the Land: Seeing Rural America for What It Is - and Isn't" will be released in 2023. Conn has taught and lectured on four continents.

OAH Lectures by Steven Conn

First delivered at the Chautauqua Institution in 2018 before a crowd of roughly 1000 people, this lecture offers a close reading of Thoreau's "On Civil Disobedience" to explore what it says to us today.

We talk about rural America either as the source of "American" values or as in perilous crisis. This lecture sweeps that tired debate and examines rural America from four different perspectives.

This overview lecture sketches a history of American cities and the reactions to them.

We live in a museum age and this lecture examines the changing role of objects themselves amidst this proliferation of museums.

Americans love "big government," despite all the political rhetoric to the contrary, and what's more they always have. This lecture sketches the role the federal government has historically played across a range of endeavors - from transportation to health care, from culture to agriculture - and examines why Americans continue to cling to the myth that the government that governs best, governs least.

In this lecture, based on his forthcoming book, Conn tracks how business schools have consistently failed to live up to their promises to train a professional class of businessmen (yes, men) from the very beginning to the present.

The election of 2016 laid bare a deep split in the United States between urban and rural. This lecture puts that split in historical perspective.

This lecture examines the irony that during the "American Century" American ideas, on both the left and the right, were shaped by a collection of European intellectuals.


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