Charles Petersen is a PhD candidate in American Studies. His research focuses on how change happens in a society’s view of itself and its possibilities—what theorists call the “social imaginary.” His primary interests lie at the intersection of two scholarly movements: the history of capitalism and the history of the democratic state. Focusing on the second half of the twentieth century, he studies how quintessential processes of democratization, such as inclusion through equality of opportunity, were mobilized to produce and legitimate vast inequality. He also has longstanding interests in the history of the American West, environmental history, the history of philosophy, and the study of literature. He received a B.A. in English from Carleton College in 2005. Before coming to Harvard he worked as a journalist and critic, writing for the New York Times, the Nation, and the New York Review of Books; he has been an editor at n+1 magazine since 2007.
This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.