Casey N. Blake

Casey N. Blake

Professor of History

504 Fayerweather Hall
Phone: (212) 854-1785
Office Hours: 319 Hamilton Hall

Faculty Profile, Center for American Studies


Ph.D. — University of Rochester 1987
M.A. — University of Rochester 1981
B.A. — Wesleyan University 1978

Interests and Research

Casey Nelson Blake works on modern American intellectual and cultural history, with an emphasis on the relationship between artistic modernism and cultural criticism.  His publications include Beloved Community:  The Cultural Criticism of Randolph Bourne, Van Wyck Brooks, Waldo Frank, and Lewis Mumford, The Arts of Democracy: Art, Public Culture, and the State, and The Armory Show at 100: Modernism and Revolution—the last a catalogue for a major exhibition on the centennial of the Armory Show at the New-York Historical Society for which he served as Senior Historian.  He also writes regularly for Commonweal, Dissent, Raritan, and other journals of opinion. He is currently at work on At the Center: American Thought and Culture, 1948-63, a book co-authored with Howard Brick and Daniel Borus.

Professor Blake came to Columbia in 1999 as founding director of the Center for American Studies after directing American Studies programs at Indiana University and Washington University, and teaching at Reed College.  While at Columbia Professor Blake has overseen the development of a civic engagement initiative within the Center, which has as its centerpiece the “Freedom and Citizenship” partnership program with the Double Discovery Center.  He is serving as acting director of the Center in 2012-13. 


  • US Intellectual History, from 1865 to the present
  • American Cultural Criticism


  • Fulbright Senior Lectureship in U.S. Intellectual History, University of Rome - 2006
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship - 2001-02
  • Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Fellowship, CASVA, National Gallery of Art - 2001-02
  • OAH-Japan Short-term Exchange, Tsuda College - June-July 1999
  • Short-term Visiting Fellowship, National Museum of American Art - Summer 1996
  • Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Fellowship - 1994-95
  • Best "Electronic Product—Humanities" for online electronic seminar, "U.S. Intellectual and Cultural History, 1890-1945," by the Association of American Publishers - 1993
  • "Outstanding Academic Book" by Choice for Beloved Community: The Cultural Criticism of Randolph Bourne, Van Wyck Brooks, Waldo Frank, and Lewis Mumford - 1992

Selected Publications


Public Art and the Civic Imagination in Modernist America (forthcoming)

Crisis of Confidence: Politics, Culture and Social Thought in the 1970s (forthcoming)

The Arts of Democracy: Art, Public Culture, and the State

Beloved Community: The Cultural Criticism of Randolph Bourne, Van Wyck Brooks, Waldo Frank, and Lewis Mumford

Scholarly Articles

"The Modernist Moment in Federal Public Art," in A Modern Mosaic, 2000

"Private Life and Public Commitment: From Walter Rauschenbusch to Richard Rorty," in A Pragmatist’s Progress? Placing Richard Rorty in the History of Pragmatism, 2000

“Lewis Mumford, Insurgent,” in Art and Technics, 2000

“What’s Pragmatism Got to do with It?” in The Pragmatist Imagination. Thinking about Things in the Making, 2000

"An Atmosphere of Effrontery: Richard Serra, 'Tilted Arc,' and the Crisis of Public Art," in The Power of Culture: Critical Essays in American History, pp. 246-89, 1993

"Memorial: Lewis Mumford (1895-1990)," in Technology and Culture Vol. 32, 187-90, Jan 1991

"The Perils of Personality: Lewis Mumford and Politics after Liberalism," in Lewis Mumford: Public Intellectual, pp. 283-300, 1990 - Reprinted in Pragmatism:? From Progressivism to Postmodernism, pp. 88-106, 1995

"The Young Intellectuals and the Culture of Personality," in American Literary History 1, 3, pp. 510-34, Fall 1989


  • Editor, book series on "The Arts and Intellectual Life in the United States," University of Pennsylvania Press (2003-)
  • Member, Board of Advisory Editors, American Quarterly (2005-2008)
  • Editor, Co-Editor, Intellectual History Newsletter (1995-2001)
  • Member, Advisory Board, Rethinking History (1996-)
  • Member, Editorial Advisory Board, culturefront (1995-2000)
  • Member, Board of Managing Editors, American Quarterly (1994-95)
  • Associate Editor, Journal of American History (1991-93)