by Frank DiMeo

Michael Kammen

Michael Kammen is the Newton C. Farr Professor of American History and Culture (emeritus) at Cornell University, where he taught from 1965 until 2008. In 1980-81 he held a newly created visiting professorship in American history at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and served in 1995-96 as President of the Organization of American Historians. In 2009 he received the American Historical Association Award for Scholarly Distinction. His books include People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Civilization (1972), awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1973; A Machine That Would Go of Itself: The Constitution in American Culture (1986), awarded the Francis Parkman Prize and the Henry Adams Prize; Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture (1991); A Time to Every Purpose: The Four Seasons in American Culture (2004), and Visual Shock: A History of Art Controversies in American Culture (2006). His new book is Digging Up the Dead: A History of Notable American Reburials (2010). 


"Therefore I prefer to talk about national style. Perhaps I am deceiving myself, if not others, by using an euphemism; but I really do believe that there are differences between style, which can be perceived, and character, which cannot. By style I simply mean the ways we clothe ourselves in certain social roles and emotional robes, what ways we respond to problems, relate to others, and recognize the realities within ourselves; the accommodations and compromises we make."

— People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Civilization