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Profile of Lawrence S. Wittner
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Lawrence Wittner is a prominent American historian who has combined intellectual life with activism for peace and social justice.
He attended Columbia College (B.A., 1962), the University of Wisconsin (M.A., 1963), and Columbia University (Ph.D. in history, 1967). Subsequently, he taught at Hampton Institute, at Vassar College, and—under the Fulbright program—at the University of Tokyo and other Japanese universities. In 1974, he began teaching at the State University of New York/Albany, where he rose to the rank of Professor of History before his retirement in 2010.
Professor Wittner is the author of nine books, the editor or co-editor of another four, and the writer of over 250 published articles and book reviews. His most ambitious scholarly project thus far has been his Struggle Against the Bomb trilogy (One World or None, Resisting the Bomb, and Toward Nuclear Abolition), a history of the worldwide nuclear disarmament movement. From 1984 to 1987, he edited Peace & Change, a journal of peace research. His article "Peace Movements and Foreign Policy" won the Charles DeBenedetti award of the Conference on Peace Research in History in 1989, and his One World or None was awarded the Warren Kuehl Book Prize of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations in 1995 as the outstanding book published in the two preceding years on internationalism and/or peace movements. He received the New York State/United University Professions Excellence Award for scholarship, teaching, and service in 1990 and the Peace History Society's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.
A former president of the Council on Peace Research in History (now the Peace History Society), an affiliate of the American Historical Association, Professor Wittner also chaired the Peace History Commission of the International Peace Research Association.
He has received major fellowships or grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Aspen Institute, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the United States Institute of Peace.
Professor Wittner has spoken at the United Nations and at the Norwegian Nobel Institute, delivered guest lectures on dozens of college and university campuses, and given talks in numerous countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Japan, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. In addition, he has written many Op-Ed pieces that have appeared in newspapers and on-line publications, in the United States and around the world. On occasion, he is interviewed on television and radio programs.
Blending intellectual life with political activity, Professor Wittner has participated since 1961 in the racial equality, labor, and peace movements. He was an early civil rights and anti-apartheid activist, has participated in the many social justice ventures of the Solidarity Committee of the Capital District, and has served for decades as an elected leader of United University Professions (the SUNY faculty-professional staff union that is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers).
Lawrence Wittner lives with his wife, Dorothy Tristman, in Albany, NY, and can be contacted through this website's "Contact Larry" page.
You can read a brief write-up about his activist life in the February 27, 2009 edition of the New York Teacher, the newspaper of the New York State United Teachers, at: http://www.nysut.org/newyorkteacher_12271.htm