Daniel Sherman

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Lineberger Distinguished Professor

Daniel J. Sherman came to UNC in fall 2008, having taught previously at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he was also director of the Center for 21st Century Studies, and at Rice University.  He specializes in modern art and French cultural history.

Professor Sherman received his B.A. in History and Literature from Harvard and his Ph.D. in History from Yale.  He is the author of three books.  His first, Worthy Monuments: Art Museums and the Politics of Culture in Nineteenth-Century France (Harvard University Press, 1989), focused on art museums as institutions of elite culture in the French provinces.  His second, The Construction of Memory in Interwar France(University of Chicago Press, 1999),  received three national awards: the first annual J. Russell Major Prize, given by the American Historical Association for the best book in French history published in English; the Laurence Wylie Prize, awarded biennially by the Association for French Cultural Studies; and an Association of American Publishers Award as one of the best scholarly books published in 1999.  His most recent work, French Primitivism and the Ends of Empire, 1945-1975 (University of Chicago Press), received the 2011 David H. Pinkney Prize from the Society for French Historical Studies as the best book published by a citizen of the U.S. or Canada on any aspect of French history and the 2012 Alf Andrew Heggoy Prize of the French Colonial Historical Society. Professor Sherman discusses this book in a podcast here. Sherman is also coeditor of Museum Culture: Histories, Discourses, Spectacles (University of Minnesota Press, 1994), one of the pioneering texts in the field of critical museum studies, of Terror, Culture, Politics: Rethinking 9/11 (Indiana University Press, 2006), and of The Long 1968: Revisions and New Perspectives (Indiana, 2013) and editor of Museums and Difference (Indiana, 2008).  His articles have appeared in such journals as American Historical Review, Art History, French Historical Studies, and Oxford Art Journal, and have been anthologized in German and Slovak translation as well as in English.

Professor Sherman has received research awards from the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Philosophical Association, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Humanities Center, the Fulbright Senior Scholars Program, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, and the Paris Institut d’Études Avancées. In Spring 2004 he was a visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris.

Professor Sherman’s current research explores the connections between archaeology, empire, and the media in France in the first half of the twentieth century.  In this and other projects, he advocates and attempts to practice a cultural history as sensitive to the formal qualities of its objects as to the larger historical context of their production and reception. At Carolina he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on modern art (1850-1960); the history and theory of museums; monuments and public art; and the arts and French culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  He advises graduate students working on a variety of topics in the history of French art in this period, and in the history of cultural institutions and commemoration both in France and elsewhere.