Harvey J. Graff is Professor of History and a member of the doctoral faculty for the Ph.D. Program in Culture, Literacy, and Language, and in English at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). He joined UTSA in 1998 as Director of the Division of Behavioral and Cultural Sciences. He had been Professor of History and Humanities at The University of Texas at Dallas. He has taught urban history for more than 25 years.
Recipient of a B.A. (1970) from Northwestern University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Graff received the M.A. (1971) and Ph.D. (1975) from The University of Toronto. In 1999-2000, Graff served as President of the Social Science History Association. In 2001, the University of Linköping in Sweden awarded him the Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa for his contributions to the study and understanding of literacy and children, adolescents, and youth. He has served as a visiting professor in history at Loyola University, Chicago, and in history, education, and English at Simon Fraser University.
Graff is a recipient of awards and fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation (Canada), National Endowment for the Humanities, American Council of Learned Societies, Texas Committee for the Humanities, Swedish Institute, National Science Foundation, The Newberry Library, Spencer Foundation, and American Antiquarian Society. He has been a fellow of The Newberry Library, the National Academy of Education (Spencer Fellow), the American Antiquarian Society, and the Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University. He was nominated for the Grawemeyer Award in Education for 1995. The University of Texas at Dallas awarded him a Special Faculty Development Assignment for his research in 1997-1998, and UTSA awarded Graff a Faculty Development Leave for Research in 2002.
A comparative social historian, Graff is noted internationally for his research on the history of literacy. Some of his major works include The Literacy Myth: Literacy and Social Structure in the Nineteenth-Century City [1979; new ed., 1991]; Literacy and Social Development in the West (Cambridge University Press, 1981, Italian edition, 1986); The Legacies of Literacy: Continuities and Contradictions in Western Culture and Society [1987, Italian ed., 1989, Critics' Choice Award of the American Educational Studies Society]; The Labyrinths of Literacy: Reflections on Literacy Past and Present [1987; new ed., 1995, Portuguese and Spanish translations in progress]; and National Literacy Campaigns in Historical and Comparative Perspective [co-editor, l987]. A selection of his essays on literacy is included in Alfabetismo di massa: mito storia realtà, in the series "Il Sapere Del Libro" (Milan: Edizioni Sylvestre Bonnard, 2002), (series includes Roger Chartier, Robert Darnton, Donald McKenzie).
Graff has conducted significant research on the history of children, adolescents, and youth, producing Children and Schools in Nineteenth-Century Canada/L'école canadienne et l'enfant au dix-neuvième siècle with Alison Prentice (Canada's Visual History, National Museum of Man, 1979; revised edition on CD-ROM, 1994); Growing Up in America: Historical Experiences [editor, 1987]; and Conflicting Paths: Growing Up in America . Graff is currently continuing his project on higher education, "historical literacy", and the social and cultural history of growing up.
Graff has also written on urban history, family history, criminality; social structure and population; education; and methodology and theory in history, social science, and humanities, including editing Quantification and Psychohistory: Toward a New History with Paul Monaco (University Press of America, 1980). He contributed a chapter on history for The Social Worlds of Higher Education: Handbook for Teaching in a New Century (1999), a project of the American Sociological Association, and an entry in the Oxford Companion to United States History (2001). Current editing projects include a volume on "Looking Backward and Looking Forward: Social Science History at 2000" from the SSHA 25th anniversary meeting, and "Literacy, Religion, Gender, and Social History: A Socio-Cultural History for the 21st Century. An International Conference for Egil Johansson," Sweden, 2002. Graff is presently at work on the City at the Crossroads: Dallas, the Book, a new interpretation of American urbanization and an urban historian and urbanite's critical reflections on the city's past, present, and future.
Graff edits the Interdisciplinary Studies in History book series for Indiana University Press. He has served on the editorial boards of such journals as Interchange, History of Education Quarterly, Historical Methods, Social Science History, Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung, Literacy & Numeracy Studies, Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, and several book series. He reviews manuscripts and books for numerous presses and journals.
Graff has also published more than 100 articles and essays on the history of cities; education; literacy; family, women, and children; growing up; criminality; social structure and population; and methodology and theory in numerous journals. A contributor to a number of encyclopedias and reference works, his writings are published in Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, and (in progress now) China, as well as the United States. He has traveled to speak in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Sweden, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, Spain, and across the United States.
Past president of North Texas Phi Beta Kappa, Graff has held office in the Canadian Association for American Studies, History of Education Society, and Social Science History Association. In 1999-2000, he presided over the 25th anniversary of the Social Science History Association. In addition to working with many publishers and universities, he advises civic and community organizations, historical societies, newspapers, television and radio stations, Internet networks, and humanities and literacy programs, including projects and programs in Canada and Australia. He has advised public television and radio, telecourses, TV and video series, documentaries, and docudramas. Several of the public television programs have won awards. Graff has served on numerous advisory boards and committees, including the City of Dallas Historic Landmark and Preservation taskforce (he wrote copy for historical landmark dedications and brochures, 1977-1985) and the American Antiquarian Society Program on the "History of the Book in American Culture". He is on the advisory boards of H-Urban and H-Childhood, and is principal academic advisor for the Chicago Historical Society's "Teen Initiative," a three-year project. Graff sits on the Advisory Board of the "Chicago Companion to the Child", a project of the University of Chicago Press.
Return to the H-Urban Syllabus Archive or view one of Graff's syllabi in the archive: