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Jonathan Zimmerman

Professor Emeritus of Education and History

Applied Statistics, Social Science, and Humanities


Jonathan Zimmerman is the Berkowitz Professor in Education and Professor of History of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. A former Peace Corps volunteer and high school teacher, Zimmerman studies schools and universities and the many ways that human beings have imagined, built, and debated them across space and time. He is the author or co-author of nine books, including "The Amateur Hour: A History of College Teaching" (Johns Hopkins, 2020), "Too Hot to Handle: A Global History of Sex Education" (Princeton, 2015) and "Whose America? Culture Wars in American Public Schools" (Harvard, 2002). He is also a frequent contributor to the Washington Post, the New York Review of Books, and other popular newspapers and magazines.

Zimmerman taught at NYU from 1996 to 2016. He served for six years as chair of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Professions, the precursor of ASH. Zimmerman taught at NYU's global sites in Ghana, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai. In 2008, he received NYU's Distinguished Teaching Award, the university's highest recognition for teaching.

Selected Publications

Free Speech and Why You Should Give a Damn, co-authored with Signe Wilkinson (City of  Light Press, April 2021)

The Amateur Hour: A History of College Teaching in America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020)

The Case for Contention: Teaching Controversial Issues in American Schools, co-authored with Emily Robertson (University of Chicago Press, 2017)

Campus Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2016)

Too Hot to Handle: A Global History of Sex Education (Princeton University Press, 2015)

Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory (Yale University Press, 2009)

Innocents Abroad: American Teachers in the American Century (Harvard University Press, 2006)

Whose America? Culture Wars in the Public Schools (Harvard University Press, 2002)

Distilling Democracy: Alcohol Education in America’s Public Schools, 1880-1925 (University Press of Kansas, 1999)