James Fraser, Professor of History and Education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. He holds a joint appointment in the departments of Humanities & Social Sciences and Teaching and Learning. Fraser’s teaching and research is motivated by his concern with the challenges facing future Social Studies and History teachers who must find ways of engaging sometimes bored students with American and world history. His most recent book, By the People: A History of the United States is designed to help make U.S. History courses more lively with a focus on the agency of everyday Americans of many different communities, times, and places. Fraser’s work also reflects his concern with complex debates about the place of religion in public schools, especially in the United States, but also internationally.
He has written, taught, and consulted about the state of teacher education in the United States and elsewhere and also written and spoken about the future of the History of Education as an academic field of study. Fraser is the president of the History of Education Society for 2013-2014. He has served on the Editorial Board of the History of Education Quarterly and as the NYU liaison to New Design High School, a public high school in New York’s Lower East Side, and to Facing History and Ourselves. He is Director of Undergraduate Studies in the NYU Department of Teaching and Learning and serves on the committees responsible for the NYU programs in London, England and Accra, Ghana.
From 2008 to 2012 Fraser was the Senior Vice President for Programs at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, where he coordinated the different Fellowship programs and led the launch of the Foundation’s Fellowships for Teachers. Now back to full time teaching at NYU, he remains a senior advisor to the Foundation. Fraser was the founding dean of Northeastern University’s School of Education, serving from 1999 to 2004. He was a member and chair of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Education Deans Council, the Boston School Committee Nominating Committee and other boards. He was also a lecturer in the Program in Religion and Secondary Education at the Harvard University Divinity School from 1997 to 2004. He has taught at Lesley University, the University of Massachusetts, Boston, Boston University, and Public School 76, Manhattan. He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and was pastor of Grace Church in East Boston, Massachusetts from 1986 to 2006 and is now a member of Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, New York.
Fraser has four adult children and six grandchildren. He and his wife, Katherine Hanson, and their dog Pebble live in New York City.