Steven Conn is a co-editor of Origins and teaches American cultural and intellectual history at Ohio State University. He is the author of 5 books, most recently Do Museums Still Need Objects?
He specializes in 19th and 20th century cultural and intellectual history. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994 after graduating from Yale University in 1987. In 2000 he was also appointed to be a member of the faculty of the Art History Department at OSU, In 2003 he was a visiting professor in the department of history at Temple University. In 2004 he became the department's first Director of Public History
He has published on a wide range of topics including urban history and urbanism, historic preservation, the African American painter Horace Pippin, and most recently an essay on Civil War history painting which appeared in History and Theory, Dec. 2002.
His first book, Museums and American Intellectual Life, 1876-1926 (Chicago, 1998) looked at different kinds of museums and placed their development in the context of shifting ideas about knowledge and knowledge production. It is now available in an attractive, reasonably priced paper back edition. In 2004 Conn published History's Shadow: Native Americans and Historical Consciousness in the Nineteenth Century (Chicago), a study of how the study of Native Americans shaped a variety of intellectual discourses including linguistics, archaeology, anthropology and history from the late 18th century through the 1890s With Max Page, he has edited an anthology of writings on America's built environment entitled Building the Nation. It is published by the University of Pennsylvania Press and came out in the 2003. This book received the 2005 Allen Noble Award for books in the history of material culture and the built environment. His new book, Metropolitan Philadelphia: Living in the Presence of the Past will come out in spring 2006 (University of Pennsylvania Press). This book, part of the Penn Press's "Metropolitan Portraits" series, analyzes the Philadelphia region from a cultural perspective and studies the way the interaction between past and present creates a sense of regional identity and place.
Prof. Conn has delivered talks all over the United States, at Kings College, Cambridge, Nanjing University, China, and Sydney, Australia. Over the last several years, Prof Conn has published dozens of essays in newspapers like the Columbus Dispatch, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Christian Science Monitor, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Conn has been the recipient of grants from the American Philosophical Society, The Library Company, and the American Council of Learned Societies.