Stephanie McCurry

Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of History


Stephanie McCurry is a specialist in nineteenth-century American history, with a focus on the American South, the Civil War era, and the history of women and gender.

Stephanie was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She attended college in Canada at the University of Western Ontario and moved to the United States for graduate school. She received her M.A. from the University of Rochester and her Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Binghamton. After nine years on the faculty of the University of California, San Diego, she moved to Northwestern University. She joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania's Department of History in 2003. In 2006-2007 she was a visiting professor of history at Princeton University.

In addition to those faculty appointments, Stephanie has held a number of other positions. She has served as Director of the California History Project (a K-12 initiative) from 1996-1998, Director of the Alice Berline Kaplan Center for the Humanities at Northwestern University from 2002-2003, and (with David Blight) co-chaired the program committee of the Organization of American Historians in 2003. Since 2005 she has been an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer. Over the years she has held a number of fellowships - from the Smithsonian Institution, the American Association of University Women, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Stephanie is the author of Masters of Small Worlds: Yeoman Households and the Political Culture of the Antebellum South Carolina Low Country (Oxford University Press, 1995) which received numerous awards including the John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association and the Charles Sydnor Award of the Southern Historical Association. She is also the author of articles and review essays that have appeared in the Journal of American History, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, and The Women's Review of Books, as well as in anthologies, including Divided Houses: Gender and the Civil War (Oxford University Press, 1992), and, most recently, an essay “War, Gender and Emancipation in the Civil War South,” published in Lincoln's Proclamation: Race, Place and the Paradoxes of Emancipation (University of North Carolina Press, 2009) .

Stephanie's latest book, Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South was published by Harvard University Press in 2010 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for History. It won the 2011 Frederick Douglass Book Prize from Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the 2011 Avery O. Craven Award and the 2011 Merle Curti Award from the Organization of American Historians, and the 2011 Willie Lee Rose Prize from the Southern Association for Women Historians

At Penn, Stephanie teaches a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in American, Southern, and women's history, and on the comparative history of slavery and emancipation. She regularly teaches a lecture course on the history of the American South from the colonial period to the end of the Civil War, and will soon begin to offer the American Civil War course as well. Recent undergraduate seminars have included “Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War” and a research seminar on the history of the American South. Her graduate courses include an intensive introduction to the literature on nineteenth-century U.S. history and “Gender, Race, and Nation in Civil War America,” which uses the Civil War as a pivot to look at issues of state, nation and citizenship from the early republic to the end of the nineteenth century.