David Levering Lewis

David Levering Lewis's field is comparative history with special focus on 20th-century US social history, imperialism in 19th -century Africa, 20th-century France, and Muslim Iberia He holds graduate history degrees from Columbia (M.A., '59) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (Ph.D., '63). He has taught at the University of Notre Dame, Howard University, University of California-San Diego; Rutgers-New Brunswick; and Harvard. In 2002, Mr. Lewis relinquished the Rutgers professorship established in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. He joined New York University's history department in 2003 as Julius Silver Professor. He became Julius Silver University Professor and Professor of History in 2005.

Mr. Lewis has written nine books and compiled several editions. A historian of the French Third Republic, he wrote Prisoners of Honor: The Dreyfus Affair (1974, UK, 1975) based on new material from French military archives. Prisoners of Honor had been temporarily set aside to write King: A Critical Biography (1970, rev. ed. 1978, 2013) for Allen Lane the Penguin Press, UK, the first scholarly biography of Dr. King. Lewis's civil rights history excursion led him to write a history of the Harlem Renaissance, When Harlem Was in Vogue for Alfred Knopf (1980). Third Republic interests, combined with a lectureship at the University of Ghana, inspired Lewis to write The Race to Fashoda: European Colonialism and African Resistance to the Scramble for Africa (1988, rev. ed. 1994). W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919 (1993) received in 1994, respectively, the Bancroft Prize in American History, the Francis Parkman Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize for Biography. In 2001, W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963 (2000) received a second Pulitzer Prize for Biography. Lewis's recent book, God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570 to 1215 was published by Norton (2008) and translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Indonesian, and several other languages.

Mr. Lewis has received fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (twice), the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the John D. and Catharine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the American Academy in Berlin. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, former trustee of the National Humanities Center, former commissioner of the National Portrait Gallery, former senator of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and former president of the Society of American Historians. He was awarded the 2010 National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama at the White House. Mr. Lewis retired from New York University in August 2013 as Julius Silver University University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus. On May 11, 2015 he received the Arthur Meier Schlesinger, Jr., Distinguished Service Prize from the Society of American Historians. On May 20, 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, from Columbia University.


Faculty Page