Patricia Nelson Limerick

Portrait of Patricia Nelson Limerick
Image Credit: Honey Ashenbrenner, Center of the American West

Patty Limerick is the faculty director and chair of the board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she is also a professor of environmental studies and history. In addition, Limerick serves as the Colorado State Historian and on the National Endowment for the Humanities advisory board called the National Council on the Humanities, a position to which she was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. She is the author of Desert Passages: Encounters with the American Deserts (1985), The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West (1987), Something in the Soil: Legacies and Reckonings in the New West (2000), and A Ditch in Time: The City, the West, and Water (2012). A frequent public speaker and a columnist for the Denver Post, Limerick has dedicated her career to bridging the gap between academics and the general public, to demonstrating the benefits of applying historical perspective to contemporary dilemmas and conflicts, and to making the case for humor as an essential asset of the humanities. A recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and the Hazel Barnes Prize (the University of Colorado’s highest award for teaching and research), she has served as president of the American Studies Association, the Western History Association, the Society of American Historians, and the OAH, as well as the vice president for teaching of the American Historical Association.

OAH Lectures