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The OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program

Edward L. Ayers

Edward L. AyersEdward L. Ayers is the Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and president emeritus of the University of Richmond. A historian of the American South, Ayers has written and edited numerous books, including The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction (1992); In the Presence of Mine Enemies: War in the Heart of America, 1859-1863 (2003), winner of the Bancroft and Beveridge Prizes; and, most recently The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America (2017), winner of the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize and the OAH Avery O. Craven Award. An early proponent of digital history with The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War, Ayers continues to work in the field, focusing on visualization of social processes across space and time. He is also a founding cohost of BackStory, a popular podcast dedicated to connecting history to the present day. Immediate past president of the OAH, he has been named the National Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama in 2013, and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.