Renee Romano Earns Excellence in Teaching Award

A specialist in 20th- and 21st-century American cultural and political history, Romano is instrumental in establishing a public humanities concentration.

May 18, 2023

Communications Staff

Renee Romano.
Photo credit: Jennifer Manna

Oberlin College and Conservatory has recognized six faculty members with Excellence in Teaching Awards for the 2021-22 academic year. The annual Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes faculty in the college and conservatory who have demonstrated sustained and distinctive excellence in their teaching at the college and conservatory.

Renee C. Romano is the Robert S. Danforth Professor of History and Professor of Comparative American Studies and Africana Studies. A specialist in 20th- and 21st-century American cultural and political history and in the field of historical memory, she is the author of Racial Reckoning: Reopening America’s Civil Rights Trials (Harvard University Press, 2014) and Race Mixing: Black-White Marriage in Postwar America (Harvard University Press, 2003.) She has also co-edited three collections: Historians on Hamilton: How a Blockbuster Musical Is Restaging America’s Past (Rutgers University Press, 2018); Doing Recent History: On Privacy, Copyright, Video Games, Institutional Review Boards, Activist Scholarship, and History that Talks Back (University of Georgia Press, 2012); and The Civil Rights Movement in American Memory (University of Georgia Press, 2006).

“Professor Renee Romano has been at the forefront of deeply important curricular, pedagogical, and mentoring initiatives in undergraduate education, including the formal establishment of curricular pathways in Public Humanites at Oberlin,” says David Kamitsuka, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Renee trains her students not only how to grapple with the most challenging social, political, and institutional issues in American history, but also to share their learning for the benefit of the broader public.”

Romano teaches courses on a variety of topics related to political, cultural, and racial history in the modern United States, including the History of Museums, Race and Sexuality in U.S. History, and Deconstructing Disney. She is also committed to the practice of public history. She is a founder and co-director of the Public Humanities Integrative Concentration at Oberlin, and she has been involved in numerous public humanities projects, including consulting for the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, directing the Oberlin visit of “Courage and Compassion: Our Shared Story of the Japanese American World War II Experience,” and serving as a scholarly advisor for the Kent State May 4th Walking Tour and Visitor's Center, the Brooklyn Historical Society, Eyes on the Prize Revisited, and Radio Diaries. From 2016 to 2019, Romano was a member of the Executive Board of the Organization of American Historians, and she is currently on the board of National History Day. She has also served as an Oberlin campus mentor for the Posse Leadership Program.

“I am humbled and gratified to be recognized with this award, especially given how many wonderful and dedicated teachers there are at Oberlin,” says Romano. “I feel extraordinarily lucky to have the opportunity to work with Oberlin students, whose energy, intellect, and curiosity constantly push me to experiment with new pedagogies, to create new courses, and to keep working to improve my teaching.”

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