Penn’s Barbara Savage Named Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at Oxford University

Barbara D. Savage of the University of Pennsylvania has been chosen as the Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at the University of Oxford for the 2018-19 academic year. 

As part of the year-long appointment, Savage also will be a Fellow at The Queen’s College and be affiliated with the faculty at Oxford’s Rothermere American Institute. As a visiting professor, she will deliver a major fall lecture, assist with seminars and organize a symposium or conference on a topic related to American history.  

“One does not apply for this position, so I was both surprised, elated and humbled when I received the invitation,” said Savage, the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought in the Department of Africana Studies at Penn. “It will be a great honor to be at Oxford. I look forward to sharing my work on African-American history with faculty and students there.”

Savage also plans to complete work on her study of Merze Tate, a diplomatic historian who was the first African-American woman to receive a graduate degree from Oxford, in 1935. Her research on Tate began with her co-edited work Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women.  

“This feels especially fitting because Oxford helped make Merze Tate’s life as a scholar possible,” Savage said.

A professor at Penn since 1995, Savage serves as the Africana Studies Department chair. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in 20th-century African-American history, the history of American religious and social reform movements and the history of the relationship between media and politics.

Her other works include two award-winning books, Broadcasting Freedom: Radio, War and the Politics of Race, 1938-1948 and Your Spirits Walk Beside Us: The Politics of Black Religion. She also co-edited Women and Religion in the African Diaspora.

Established in 1922, the Harmsworth Professorship has been awarded twice previously to Penn faculty members, Richard Beeman in 2003 and Richard Dunn in 1987.

Barbara Savage Penn Professor