Campus News

Claudio Saunt named Russell Professor at UGA

Athens, Ga. – Claudio Saunt has been named the Richard B. Russell Professor in American History at the University of Georgia.

An accomplished scholar and teacher, Saunt is the award-winning author of two books with a third now in progress.

“Claudio Saunt is a scholar and teacher who has already brought insight and accomplishment to the Franklin College and UGA,” said Garnett S. Stokes, dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “This highly coveted professorship is recognition of his work in the past and yet to come. We are delighted.”

The Russell Foundation has endowed the Richard B. Russell Professorship in American History at the University of Georgia since 1976. The professorship, named for Georgia’s late U.S. senator, has been held by distinguished historians who have garnered national recognition for their research, teaching and writing.

“It’s wonderful that the Russell Foundation has made one of its priorities to support Georgia’s public universities.It does so in a number of ways, including funding the Russell Professorship in American History.I’m tremendously honored to hold this professorship.It gives me the ability to embark on several research projects that I’ve long considered but haven’t had the resources to pursue,” said Saunt.

The first Russell Professor, Gilbert Fite, was the author of a definitive book on Russell’s life, Richard B. Russell, Jr., Senator from Georgia (University of North Carolina Press, 1991). In 1994, the Russell biography received the D.B. Hardman prize for the best book on the U.S. Congress. Other professors to hold this chair include Pulitzer Prize-winning authors William McFeely and Edward Larson.

Colleagues, friends and admirers of Russell in Georgia established the Richard B. Russell Foundation, Inc., a non-profit corporation, to perpetuate the senator’s memory, preserve his records and support activities that exemplify his ideals.

Saunt earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Columbia University in 1989, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Duke University in 1991 and 1996 respectively. In addition to his appointment in the department of history, he is associate director of the Institute of Native American Studies at UGA.

His most recent book is Black, White, and Indian: Race and the Unmaking of an American Family (Oxford University Press, 2005). He has published articles in the Journal of American History, the William and Mary Quarterly, the Journal of Southern History, the American Indian Quarterly and many others.

He was awarded a year-long research fellowship by the American Philosophical Society in 2009 and won the Bolton-Cutter Award from the Western History Association for the Best Article on Borderlands History, also in 2009.

In addition, Saunt is winner of the 2005 Clements Prize from the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University for the best non-fiction book on Southwestern America, and the Green and Ramsdell Award from the Southern Historical Association for the best article published in The Journal ofSouthern History during 2004 and 2005.

He also is a winner of the Wheeler-Voegelin Award from the American Society for Ethnohistory for the best book in ethnohistory (2000) and the Charles S. Sydnor Award from the Southern Historical Association for the best book on Southern history (2000).

Saunt has taught American Indian history at UGA, as well as a class on early America and seminars in American history and early American history.