Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, was born in New York City in 1943 and raised in Long Beach, Long Island. He received his undergraduate degree summa cum laude from Columbia College in 1963 and two years later earned a second BA, first class, from the University of Oxford. He received his doctorate from Columbia in 1969. He has been awarded honorary degrees from Dartmouth College, Iona College, Lehigh University, Princeton University, Queen Mary University of London, and SUNY Purchase.
Foner is the author or editor of over twenty books, which have won numerous awards, including the Bancroft, Pulitzer, Lincoln, and New-York Historical Society Prizes. His works have been translated into Chinese, Korean, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. His survey of American history, Give Me Liberty! is the country’s most widely-used history textbook. He is a recipient of the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching from Columbia University, and has taught as a visiting professor at the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Moscow State University, and Queen Mary University of London, among other institutions.
Foner has also engaged in numerous efforts to bring history to a broader public. The online version of his course on the Civil War and Reconstruction has educated thousands of viewers in the United States and abroad. He lectures widely to non-academic audiences, was co-curator of two award-winning historical exhibitions, and has advised the National Park Service on modernizing the presentation of history at a number of its historic sites. He serves on the editorial boards of The Nation and Harper’s, has written for numerous newspapers and periodicals, and has appeared on television shows ranging from Charlie Rose to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. Throughout his career, he has actively supported civil liberties, racial justice, and the rights of labor at Columbia and in society at large, as well as opposition to the Iraq War. As a result, right-wing commentator David Horowitz identified him as one of “the 101 most dangerous academics in America.”
Eric Foner is married to Lynn Garafola, a prominent dance historian and critic. Their daughter, Daria Rose Foner, is a doctoral student at Columbia University studying Italian Renaissance art.