Professor, History & Society

Gurley Hall, Troy
[email protected]


Professor Andor Skotnes teaches a range of courses in the history of the Americas at the Sage Colleges since 1990, including United States, African American, Native American, and Latin American history. He also teaches oral history (documenting the inner processes of history through interviews with participants and eye-witnesses) and Founder’s Seminar (a broad discussion seminar for first-year students).

“In all my courses,” Professor Skotnes writes, “I encourage students to think critically for themselves about the past and and how it impacts their lives today. And I focus on the historical activities of people from all racial-ethnic groups and classes, particularly highlighting the contributions of women.”

Professor Skotnes’s courses emphasize classroom discussion and interaction; in them, students engage social and cultural history not only through the written word — through primary and secondary documents — but also through artifacts, music, audio recordings, photographs, and film. His success as a teacher has been recognized by both students and the college as a whole. For example, he was the faculty inductee into Athenian Society, a student honors society, in 1993, and the honorary faculty recipient of the junior ring in 1995. Additionally, he was twice awarded the Betty Harder McClellan Fellowship in the Humanities, the only chair at the Russell Sage College for junior faculty members.

Professor Skotnes’s scholarly interests include recent United States social and cultural history — especially African American and working class history — and oral history-related topics in the international arena. In 1994, he was received a United States Information Agency Academic Specialist Grant to consult on people’s oral history in South Africa; between mid-December and mid-November he traveled over 6,000 kilometers throughout the country, conferring, conducting workshops, and presenting papers at conferences, universities, and community institutions.

Professor Skotnes has also conducted post-graduate seminars at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, and has published numerous scholarly articles. He is the co-editor of, and a contributor to the recent collection, Migration and Identity (Oxford University Press, 1995), and is completing a book entitled The Black Freedom Movement and the Labor Movement in Baltimore, 1930-1948 (to be published by Cornell University Press).

Professor Skotnes sees no contradiction between scholarship and teaching, and he is committed to both.

“I really believe,” he says, “that my scholarly activities enrich my students’ educational experience in many, many ways.” According to their comments, many students agree.