National Humanities Center Selects New Vice President for Scholarly Programs | National Humanities Center

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National Humanities Center Selects New Vice President for Scholarly Programs

April 1, 2020

Matthew Booker
Matthew Booker, North Carolina State University

The National Humanities Center has announced the appointment of Matthew Morse Booker as vice president for Scholarly Programs, effective July 1, 2020.

Dr. Booker comes to the Center from North Carolina State University where he is currently associate professor of environmental history, serves as director of the Science, Technology & Society program and the Visual Narrative research cluster, and sits on the public history faculty. Matthew is a member of the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina Press and a member of the board of the Forest History Society.

Matthew holds a BA in Latin American history from the University of California, Berkeley, an MS in environmental studies from the University of Oregon, and received his PhD in American history from Stanford University. He has published in a wide variety of forums on the interrelations between human beings and the natural world, with an emphasis on coastal cities in North America. He also regularly collaborates with K–12 teachers, museum curators, natural scientists, and others who love the humanities. His current research explores the rise and fall of food production within American industrial cities, and his most recent book, with Chad Ludington, Food Fights: How History Matters to Contemporary Food Debates, pairs essays debating food safety, agricultural and food subsidies, GMOs, and other urgent disputes.

Robert D. Newman, president and director of the National Humanities Center, noted that Matthew’s experience as a dedicated scholar and administrator, as well as his experience working with the Center, were what distinguished him to the search committee. “Matthew Booker brings with him not only tremendous experience as an innovative researcher and teacher, but has a demonstrated track record of working across disciplines as an administrator, helping organize the efforts of groups of scholars,” he said. “Since Matthew was a Fellow at the Center in 2016–17, we’ve had the opportunity to engage him as a scholarly expert with our education programs and worked with him to organize public engagement efforts like last year’s Beyond Despair initiative on the environmental humanities. All of these things combine to make him an excellent choice to help continue the Center’s reputation as an ideal destination for nurturing advanced research in the humanities.”

“I am delighted to be joining the Center,” said Booker. “I’ve not only experienced what a special place this is for scholars, I’ve also had the great good fortune to work closely with the Center’s staff in support of its educational and public engagement work, and I look forward to the opportunity to build on the tremendous work that the Center is known for.”

About the National Humanities Center

The National Humanities Center is the world’s only independent institute dedicated exclusively to advanced study in all areas of the humanities. Through its residential fellowship program, the Center provides scholars with the resources necessary to generate new knowledge and to further understanding of all forms of cultural expression, social interaction, and human thought. Through its education programs, the Center strengthens teaching on the collegiate and pre-collegiate levels. Through public engagement intimately linked to its scholarly and educational programs, the Center promotes understanding of the humanities and advocates for their foundational role in a democratic society.


Don Solomon
Director of Communications