Jonathan Zimmerman

Jonathan Zimmerman

Jonathan Zimmerman is a professor of history of education at the University of Pennsylvania. A former Peace Corps volunteer and high school teacher, he is the author of The Case for Contention: Teaching Controversial Issues in American Schools (2017), Campus Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know (2016), Too Hot to Handle: A Global History of Sex Education (2015), Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory (2009 ), Innocents Abroad: American Teachers in the American Century (2006), Whose America? Culture Wars in the Public Schools (2002), and Distilling Democracy: Alcohol Education in America's Public Schools, 1880-1925 (1999). He won New York University's Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008. He is also a frequent op-ed contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Republic, and other newspapers and magazines.


  • Across the Great Divide: American Historians and their Publics
  • Dueling Dilemmas: Race and Religion in American Public Schools
  • Free Speech on Campus: Old Questions, New Answers
  • I before E? The Failed Campaign to Simplify American Spelling, 1890-1940
  • Is Progressive Education "Culturally Appropriate"? The Case of Ghana in the 1960s
  • Sex, Drugs, and Right 'n' Wrong: Teaching about Sin in American Public Schools
  • States of Desire: How Sex Education Encircled the Globe
  • Teaching about Trump: Civic Education and the Challenge of Democracy *
  • The Ides of November: Recent Campus Protests in Historical Perspective *
  • The Little Red Schoolhouse: An American Icon
  • The Muzzled Teacher: American Public Schools and the Limits of Freedom

Lectures marked with a * are offered as part of the OAH's initiative, Historians' Perspectives on the Rise of Donald Trump.

Process: A Blog for American History

Why—and How—I Write Op-eds