John Brooke

John Brooke

John Brooke

Emeritus Professor; Arts & Sciences Distinguished Professor of History; Warner Woodring Chair in American History; Professor of Anthropology


273 Dulles Hall
230 Annie and John Glenn Avenue
Columbus, OH

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Areas of Expertise

  • US History to 1877
  • Environment, Health, Technology, and Science
  • Power, Culture, and the State
  • Religion in History

John Brooke received his B.A. from Cornell University (1975) and his M.A. (1977) and Ph.D. (1982) from the University of Pennsylvania, and between 1981 and 2001 taught at Franklin and Marshall, Amherst, and Tufts before coming to Ohio State.  He served as the director of the OSU Center for Historical Research from 2011 to 2022, and co-chaired series on environmental and disease, state formations, the legacy of 1619, and global crisis.

His areas of research and teaching interest include Early American History and Environmental History, and he regularly taught the American survey to 1877, American Political History to 1877, The American Revolution and Early Republic, Global Environmental History, and Climate Change: Mechanisms, Impacts, and Mitigation.

He is the author of four books in early American history: The Heart of the Commonwealth: Society and Political Culture in Worcester County Massachusetts, 1713-1861 (Cambridge University Press, 1989) and The Refiner's Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844 (Cambridge University Press, 1994), Columbia Rising: Civil Life on the Upper Hudson from the Revolution to the Age of Jackson (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press, 2010), and There is a North: Political Crisis, Cultural Transformation, and the Coming of the Civil War (University of Massachusetts Press, 2019).  As Co-Chair of the 2013-2015 CHR series on State Formations, he co-edited State Formations: Global Histories and Cultures of Statehood (Cambridge University Press, 2018) with Julia Strauss and Greg Anderson.  He is currently working on the revised second edition of Climate Change and the Course of Global History: A Rough Journey (Cambridge University Press, 2014). 

Professor Brooke has held fellowships awarded by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Commonwealth Center/Institute of Early American History and Culture at the College of William and Mary, the Charles Warren Center, Harvard University, and the American Antiquarian Society.  His books have won the Columbia University Bancroft Prize for American History, the OAH Merle Curti Award for Intellectual History, the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Best Book Prize, the Dixon Ryan Fox Manuscript Prize by the New York State Historical Association, the Ohio Academy of History Book Prize, and the New England Historical Association Book Award.

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