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Faculty Leaders

James Campbell

James Campbell, professor of history at Stanford since 2008, teaches a wide variety of courses, including lecture courses in American, African American, and South African history and seminars on slavery in American history and memory, the Civil War, and explorations in American history and film. Professor Campbell’s current research focuses on questions of historical memory, exploring the stories that societies tell about themselves as well as the stories they choose not to tell or to forget, not only in history textbooks but also in museums, movies, memorials, and historic sites. His love of American history traces back to his childhood in Illinois, where he became a youthful Lincoln buff, and he brings that same enthusiasm and wonder to his scholarship and teaching today.

"Jim was not only knowledgeable and accessible, but also threw himself with gusto into all the activities. A great addition to the group!"

Allyson Johnson, '66, MA '67, Washington D.C. Family Adventure, 2016


At Stanford:

  • Professor, history department, since 2008
  • Currently the Edgar E. Robinson Professor in United States History and the Barbara and Buzz McCoy University Fellow in Undergraduate Education
  • Director, Research Institute for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, 2010–2012
  • Co-chair, Study of Undergraduate Education (SUES), 2010–2012

Other Affiliations:

  • Formerly taught at Northwestern University; Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa; and Brown University
  • Historical consultant on documentary film projects (e.g., for PBS and the History Channel) and museum exhibitions (e.g., for the Smithsonian Institution Museum of African American History and Culture)


  • Author, Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787–2005 (2006), Songs of Zion: The African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States and South Africa (1996) and Freedom Now: History, Memory, and the Mississippi Freedom Movement (tentative title, forthcoming)
  • Anthology co-editor, Race, Nation, and Empire in American History (2007) and Slavery and the University (forthcoming)
  • Author of numerous articles for academic perdiodicals


  • Recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2011
  • Finalist, Pulitzer Prize in history, 2007, and winner of the Mark Lynton History Prize, 2007 (for Middle Passages)
  • Winner of the Organization of American Historians’ Frederick Jackson Turner Award, 1996, and the Carl Sandburg Literary Award for Nonfiction, 1996 (for Songs of Zion)

Academic History:

  • BA, History, 1980, Yale University
  • MA, History, 1983, and PhD, History, 1989, Stanford University

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