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Arwen Mohun, Cathy Matson and David Shearer
The newest named professors in the Department of History are (from left) Arwen Mohun, Cathy Matson and David Shearer.

New named professorships

Three history faculty members recognized for scholarship, teaching

Three faculty members in the University of Delaware’s Department of History have been appointed to named professorships in recognition of their leading scholarship and teaching.

Cathy Matson has been appointed the Richards Chair of American History, Arwen Mohun has been named the Henry Clay Reed Professor of History, and David Shearer has been named the Thomas Muncy Keith Professor of History.

The three appointments were effective Sept. 1.

“Professors Matson, Shearer and Mohun have forged impressive international reputations as scholars in the histories of science and technology, business and economics, gender studies and the Soviet Union,” said George Watson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“They are also exceptional teachers and mentors, inspiring our undergraduate and graduate students with their knowledge, compassion and deep commitment to their success.”

Cathy Matson

Matson, whose scholarship and writing focus on the economic culture and political economy of the Colonial and Revolutionary era, also is director of the Program in Early American Economy and Society in Philadelphia.

Her books include Merchants and Empire: Trading in Colonial New York; with Peter Onuf, A Union of Interests: Politics and Economy in the Revolutionary Era; and The Economy of Early America: Historical Perspectives and New Directions (editor and introductory chapter). Her current book project is “A Gambler’s Ocean”: The Economic Culture of Commerce in Philadelphia, 1750 to 1811.

In addition, Matson has written more than 35 articles on these topics and contributed chapters to over a dozen essay collections. She has also edited and introduced special issues of 10 North American journals and published a number of review essays in the top journals of her field.

At UD, she teaches courses including The Atlantic World and The Revolutionary Atlantic. She has served extensively in professional and departmental capacities, on journal editorial boards, as graduate studies director, on conference program committees and as a consultant to historic houses and public history projects.

Matson earned her doctorate at Columbia University in 1985 and joined the UD faculty in 1990.

Arwen Mohun

Mohun’s research and teaching interests focus on risk, comparative 19th and 20th century British and American industrialization, the history of technology, gender, food history, the history of the body and Americans in the world.

She is the author of Risk: Negotiating Safety in American Society, which won the 2014 Ralph Gomery Book Prize from the Business History Conference, and Steam Laundries: Gender, Technology and Work in Great Britain and the United States, 1880-1940, and co-editor of Gender and Technology: A Reader; and His and Hers: Gender, Technology and Consumption.

Mohun has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a National Science Foundation Senior Research Fellowship and a Smithsonian Institution Senior Research Fellowship.

At UD she teaches courses including U.S. History, the research and writing seminars Americans in the World and Anonymous Americans and such graduate seminars as American Science and Technology, Hagley Museum and Library, and Cultures of Consumption.

From 2012-16, she was co-director of the Delaware Public Humanities Institute.

Mohun earned her doctorate at Case Western Reserve University in 1992 and joined the UD faculty that same year. Since 2013, she has served as chair of the Department of History.

David Shearer

Shearer’s research and teaching interests focus on comparative 19th and 20th century Soviet and European political, economic and social history and the history of modernity.

His publications include Industry, State, and Society in Stalin’s Russia, 1926-1934; Policing Stalin’s Socialism: Repression and Social Order in the Soviet Union, 1924-1953; and, with Vladimir Khaustov, Stalin and the Lubianka: A Documentary History of the Political Police and Security Organs in the Soviet Union, 1922–1953, the first English-language exploration of Joseph Stalin’s relationship with and manipulation of the Soviet political police.

Shearer also has authored numerous articles on Soviet historiography and social history of the 1920s and 1930s.

He is currently compiling and editing a collection of Soviet political police documents from the 1930s and is working on a new monograph-length research project on the history of Russian and Soviet exploration in Central Asia.

More generally, he has an interest in the changing notions of modernity and leads a graduate seminar on this topic. He also teaches courses on such topics as the history of the Soviet Union, the Russian revolution and European industrialization.

Shearer earned his doctorate in 1988 from the University of Pennsylvania and joined the UD faculty in 1989.

About the professorships

The Robert H. and Lydia H. Richards Chair of History was established by the University through gifts made in memory of Robert and Lydia Richards.

The Henry Clay Reed Professor of History was established by the University in 1995 with funds from Leah R. Lord’s estate. Henry Clay Reed was professor emeritus of history at UD.

The Thomas Muncy Keith Professor of History was established in September 1998 with funds from Thomas Muncy Keith's estate. Keith graduated from UD in 1922 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and then graduated from Harvard in 1925 with a law degree. He practiced law for more than 70 years in Delaware.


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