Timothy Patrick McCarthy
Timothy Patrick McCarthy is an award-winning scholar, teacher, public servant, and social justice activist who holds a joint faculty appointment in Harvard’s undergraduate honors program in History and Literature, the Graduate School of Education, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Since 2008, he has also been Core Faculty and Program Director at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, and on April 5, 2017, he delivered the inaugural lecture to launch Resistance School, an online learning hub for progressives who want to reclaim, rebuild, and reimagine America in the Trump era.
An historian of politics and social movements, Dr. McCarthy is the author or editor of five books from the New Press, including The Radical Reader: A Documentary History of the American Radical Tradition (2003), Prophets of Protest: Reconsidering the History of American Abolitionism (2006), Protest Nation: Words That Inspired a Century of American Radicalism (2010), The Indispensable Zinn: The Essential Writings of the People’s Historian (2012), and Stonewall's Children: Living Queer History in an Age of Liberation, Loss, and Love (2019). He has been awarded fellowships and funding from the Mellon and Ford Foundations, Massachusetts Historical Society, Mass Humanities, National Endowment for the Humanities, Open Gate Foundation, David Bohnett Foundation, and Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History.
The adopted only son and grandson of public school teachers and factory workers, Dr. McCarthy’s courses—“American Protest Literature from Tom Paine to Tupac,” “Stories of Slavery and Freedom,” and “Arts of Communication”—are consistently among the most popular and highly rated at Harvard. He has twice been named one of Harvard Crimson’s “Professors of the Year,” and is the recipient of many awards for his teaching and mentoring, including the Stephen Botein Prize for Excellence in Teaching, Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize for Outstanding Senior Thesis Advising, John R. Marquand Award for Exceptional Advising and Counseling, Derek Bok Center Award for Teaching Excellence, and HKS Dean’s Award for Exceptional Leadership and Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion. Since 2001, in addition to his Harvard teaching, he has taught in and helped to direct the Boston Clemente Course in the Humanities, co-recipient of the 2015 National Humanities Medal, a yearlong college humanities course for low-income adults in Dorchester, Massachusetts. In 2015, he was named the Stanley Paterson Professor of American History, the only Clemente faculty chair in the nation.
Dr. McCarthy is the director of A.R.T. of Human Rights and host of Resistance Mic!, two ongoing series with the Tony Award-winning American Repertory Theater. A frequent media commentator, he is featured in several documentary films, has appeared on NPR, BBC, CBS News, Air America, Bloomberg Radio, Al Jazeera, Democracy Now!, HuffPost Live, and Big Think, and has published in The Daily Beast, Salon, Boston Globe, Huffington Post, and The Nation.
In 2012, Dr. McCarthy was a member of the first-ever LGBTQ delegation from the US to Israel/Palestine, and served, from 2011-2017, on the board of Free the Slaves, From 1997 to 2012, Dr. McCarthy directed the Alternative Spring Break Church Rebuilding Program, where he brought hundreds of students down South to rebuild African-American churches destroyed in racist arson attacks. He has also served as an advisor on numerous political campaigns, including the 2008 Presidential campaign, when he was a founding member of Barack Obama’s National LGBT Leadership Council.
Dr. McCarthy graduated with honors in History and Literature from Harvard College, and earned his M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in History from Columbia University. He and his husband live in Quincy House, where they have been Resident Scholars since 2010.
For Dr. McCarthy’s HKS Faculty Page, click here.