Marcus Rediker Named Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History

Issue Date: 
July 26, 2010
Marcus RedikerMarcus Rediker

The University of Pittsburgh has honored award-winning author Marcus Rediker, a professor and chair in Pitt’s Department of History, by naming him Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History, effective July 1, 2010.

Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg made the appointment upon the recommendation of Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor James V. Maher. The rank of Distinguished Professor recognizes extraordinary, internationally recognized scholarly attainment in an individual discipline or field.

Rediker’s book The Slave Ship: A Human History (Viking Penguin, 2007) won the 2008 George Washington Book Prize from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the C.V. Starr Center at Washington College, and Mount Vernon; the 2008 Merle Curti Award from the Organization of American Historians; and the 2008 James A. Rawley Prize in Atlantic History from the American Historical Association. The book has been translated into Swedish and is currently being translated into Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Russian.

Another of Rediker’s books, Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age (Beacon Press, 2004), is under option with Lions Gate Entertainment and is in development as a television miniseries. Rediker also is at work on The Amistad Rebellion: A Sea Story of Slavery and Freedom, scheduled for publication by Viking Penguin in 2012.

A scholar of early American history and Atlantic history, Rediker joined the University in 1994. Among the courses he teaches are The Global History of Piracy, Colonial America, Atlantic History: 1500-1800, and Africa and the Atlantic. He has served as chair of the history department since September 2007 and will complete his term in that position at the end of this month.

Rediker also is the author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Merchant Seamen, Pirates, and the Anglo-American Maritime World, 1700-1750 (Cambridge University Press, 1987), which was translated into French, Greek, Italian, and, Korean, and earned the 1988 Merle Curti Award for the best work in American social history and the 1988 John Hope Franklin Prize from the American Studies Association for best interdisciplinary work in American Studies; Who Built America? Working People and the Nation’s Economy, Politics, Culture, and Society, with Herbert G. Gutman and others (Pantheon Books, 1989); and The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic, with Peter Linebaugh (Beacon Press, 2000), which was translated into French, German, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish and won the 2001 International Labor History Book Prize from the International Labor History Association.

In addition to receiving numerous book awards, Rediker was named a 2005-06 fellow of both the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities, a 1990-91 Andrew Mellon Fellow at Pitt, and a 1989-90 fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Rediker attended Vanderbilt University and Virginia Commonwealth University, where he received a BA degree in history in 1976. He earned MA and PhD degrees in history from the University of Pennsylvania, attending from 1976 to 1982.