Jeff Roche

Professor Jeff Roche


Jeff Roche Selected to Participate in Unique American History Seminar

Associate Professor of History will be part of weeklong exchange of ideas about the Gilded Age

April 30, 2013 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — Jeff Roche, associate professor of history at The College of Wooster, has been selected by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to participate in a special American history seminar on the Gilded Age — the period from the end of the Civil War to roughly the turn of the 20th century when mass immigration, industrialization, violent class conflict, transformative new technologies, and explosive growth created the foundation for the modern United States.

A member of Wooster’s faculty since 2001, Roche was chosen from a national pool of candidates for the weeklong seminar, which will take place July 14–19 at Stanford University. Participants will exchange ideas with seminar director Richard White, a Pulitzer Prize finalist who specializes in the history of the American West, environmental history, and Native American history.

“Richard White is one of America’s greatest living historians,” said Roche, who was nominated for the seminar by Carolyn Newton, provost at Wooster. “It’s an honor to be nominated and an honor to be selected.”

Roche specializes in 20th century U.S. political history, western American history, conservatism, and the decade of the ‘60s. He recently began to expand his research, which previously focused on 1945 to the present. “My current research has begun to push me back to this era,” he said. “We thought we knew a lot about (the Gilded Age), but as we become more interested in business and labor history, we have taken a renewed interest in it.”

The author of Restructured Resistance: The Sibley Commission and the Politics of Desegregation in Georgia, which examines the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on Georgia’s political culture, and Cowboy Conservatism, which explains the rise of a particular brand of western-style conservative politics, Roche is also the co-editor of The Conservative Sixties and the editor of The New Western Politics. He received both his B.A. summa cum laude (1992) and his M.A. (1995) at Georgia State University. He earned a Ph.D. from The University of New Mexico (2000) where he was an L. Dudley Philips Dissertation Fellow and a Regents’ Endowed Fellow.

“Strengthening the teaching of American history at colleges and universities is of critical importance.” said CIC President Richard Ekman. “The number of institutions that nominated faculty members who are active as scholars and teachers of this subject is most impressive. We believe that Jeff will play a strong role in the seminar.”

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of 645 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and more than 90 higher education organizations that have worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute was established in 1994 to promote the study and the love of American history. The Institute organizes seminars and enrichment programs for teachers; supports and produces publications and traveling exhibitions; sponsors lectures by eminent historians; develops electronic resources; creates history high schools and extracurricular history programs; and founds research centers at universities and libraries.