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Prof. Dan Kerr

Daniel Kerr

Associate Professor
Department of History

  • Dan Kerr, the director of American University's public history program, specializes in the fields of community history, oral history, and public history. The projects he has initiated, including the Cleveland Homeless Oral History Project, the Shenandoah Valley Oral History Project, and the Homeless Voices Amplification Cooperative in Washington, DC, have gained inspiration from the traditions of popular education, participatory action research, and people’s history. With each project, Kerr seeks to honor the “shared authority” inherent in the oral histories and documents generated throughout the research process.

    He has recently published Derelict Paradise: Homelessness and Urban Development in Cleveland, Ohio where he offers answers to the question, "Who benefits from homelessness?" The book takes the reader on a sweeping tour of Cleveland's history from the late nineteenth-century through the early twenty-first.

    Kerr is currently working on a manuscript addressing the research he has conducted with the Cleveland Homeless Oral History Project and the Homeless Voices Amplification Cooperative. He has interviewed over 200 people experiencing homelessness and has facilitated dozens of workshops and meetings in the shelters, drop-in centers and parks of Cleveland, Ohio and Washington, DC. He addresses aspects of this work in his article, “We Know What the Problem Is,” in Oral History Review, Winter/Spring 2003.

    Through his work, Kerr seeks to explore the relationship between activism, social change, and history. Can the study of history facilitate movement building in community? What does it mean to be an engaged historian?
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Teaching

  • Spring 2015

    • HNRS-196 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: AU Scholars Research Lab
    • Description
  • Fall 2015

    • IDIS-196 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: AU Scholars Research Lab
    • Description

AU Expert

Area of Expertise: History of urban inequality, boosterism, development, gentrification, low wage labor, and homelessness.  He has also done extensive research on the history of the poultry industry in the twentieth century.

Additional Information: Dan Kerr
has recently published Derelict Paradise: Homelessness and Urban Development in Cleveland, Ohio where he seeks answers to the question, "Who benefits from homelessness?" The book takes the reader on a sweeping tour of Cleveland's history from the late nineteenth-century through the early twenty-first. Kerr is currently working on a manuscript addressing the research he conducted with the Cleveland Homeless Oral History Project where he has interviewed close to 200 homeless people and has facilitated dozens of workshops and meetings in the shelters and drop-in centers of Cleveland. He addresses this work in detail in his article, “We Know What the Problem Is,” Oral History Review, Winter/Spring 2003.

From 2005-2011, Kerr taught at James Madison University where he directed the Shenandoah Valley Oral History Project and researched and taught a class on the history of the poultry industry.

Kerr specializes in the fields of environmental history, urban social history, community history, oral history, and public history. Kerr has made an active effort to make his research accessible and relevant to those who promote social justice in the community.
 

Media Relations
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.

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