Sher, Richard B. 1948-
Sher, Richard B. 1948-
Writer, educator, historian. New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, lecturer, 1979-1985, assistant professor, 1985-86, associate professor, 1986-1992, professor of history, 1992-2000, distinguished professor of history, 2000—, associate dean college of science and liberal arts, director honors program, 1985-1991, department chair, 1999—; Rutgers University, Newark, NJ, graduate faculty member, 1991, 2000. New York University, New York, NY, visiting professor, 1982.
Royal Historical Society (fellow), Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (life member), American Historical Association, Phi Beta Kappa.
National Endowment for the Humanities, summer stipends, 1986, 1994; Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, 1994-95; visiting fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, 1998 and 2000, and at the University College, Dublin, Ireland, 1999; Percy G. Adams Article Prize, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 1999; Lifetime Achievement Award, Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society, 206; Frank Watson Prize, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and Leo Gershoy Award, American Historical Association, both 2007, both for The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, and America.
(Editor, with Jeffrey R. Smitten) Scotland and America in the Age of the Enlightenment, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1990.
(Editor, with John Dwyer) Sociability and Society in Eighteenth-Century Scotland, Mercat Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1993.
(Editor, with Andrew Hook) The Glasgow Enlightenment, Tuckwell Press (East Linton, East Lothian, Scotland), 1995, 1997.
Also contributor to numerous academic journals and books, including the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2004. Editor of Eighteenth-Century Scotland, an annual publication of the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society.
Richard B. Sher was born March 29, 1948, in Newark, New Jersey. He attended George Washington University, where he earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy, and then the University of Chicago, where he earned a master's degree in the social sciences in 1971, followed by his doctorate in history in 1979. He is a member of the faculty at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), where he is a distinguished professor of history. Sher also serves as chair of the Federated History Department of Rutgers University and NJIT. His primary areas of research interest include the Enlightenment, the social history of technology, both cultural and intellectual history, and the history of books and print culture. He was awarded a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship for the 1994-95 academic year, as well as summer stipends from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1986 and again in 1994. In addition to his academic achievements, Sher has written a number of books, including Church and University in the Scottish Enlightenment: The Moderate Literati of Edinburgh and The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, and America, and he has served as the editor of several other volumes, including Scotland and America in the Age of the Enlightenment, which he edited with Jeffrey R. Smitten, Sociability and Society in Eighteenth-Century Scotland, edited with John Dwyer, and The Glasgow Enlightenment, on which he collaborated with Andrew Hook.
Scotland and America in the Age of the Enlightenment is meant to build on other recent texts that tackled the relationships between these two countries during the Enlightenment and looks specifically at religion, philosophy, and Philadelphia's culture during this period. Attitudes toward teaching are analyzed, particularly in relation to the common man rather than the elite population who were more likely to be thoroughly educated according to the dictates of the age. The link between Edinburgh and Philadelphia is also examined, with an eye toward the way that the Edinburgh Medical School influenced the similar institution in Philadelphia. Boyd Stanley Schlenther, in a review for the English Historical Review, praised the book, noting that "one of the most useful features of this welcome collection is the frequent cross-referencing between essays."
Sociability and Society in Eighteenth-Century Scotland is comprised of twelve essays, the majority of which are the result of a conference held by the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society and the Institute of Scottish Studies at Old Dominion University, Virginia, in 1988. The subjects of the essays vary, from philosophy to politics, music to literature—both French and English, history to religion, all related to the eighteenth century in Scotland and the period of the Enlightenment, and all offered by scholars in the field in question. Fania Oz-Salzberger, in a review for the English Historical Review, commented that "the Scottish fascination with society and converse, in its various reflective, introspective, playful or agonized modes, surfaces as a unifying theme in this collection of works on the many-voiced eighteenth-century Scottish scene."
The Enlightenment and the Book, published in 2006 by the University of Chicago Press, won the Leo Gershoy Award from the American Historical Association and the Frank Watson Prize from the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada, both in 2007. In this work Sher examines the productivity of the great Scottish thinkers and artists of the late eighteenth century, including the philosopher and economist Adam Smith, the philosopher and historian David Hume, and the poet Robert Burns, and the sheer volume of books they produced during this period. He goes on to look at the nascent publishing industry of the day and just what was required to produce books in such numbers. A publisher's blurb on the University of Chicago Press Web site noted that "Sher demonstrates that publishers were involved in the project of bookmaking in order to advance human knowledge as well as to accumulate profits."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, April, 1986, Jane Rendall, review of Church and University in the Scottish Enlightenment: The Moderate Literati of Edinburgh, p. 407.
Canadian Historical Review, March, 1993, review of Scotland and America in the Age of the Enlightenment, p. 140.
English Historical Review, April, 1994, Boyd Stanley Schlenther, review of Scotland and America in the Age of the Enlightenment, p. 464; February, 1996, Fania Oz-Salzberger, review of Sociability and Society in Eighteenth-Century Scotland, p. 203.
History: The Journal of the Historical Association, October, 1992, Nicholas Phillipson, review of Scotland and America in the Age of the Enlightenment, p. 433.
International History Review, May, 1992, review of Scotland and America in the Age of the Enlightenment, p. 356.
Journal of American History, September, 1991, Elizabeth I. Nybakken, review of Scotland and America in the Age of the Enlightenment, p. 637.
Journal of Church and State, winter, 1986, Elmer H. Duncan, review of Church and University in the Scottish Enlightenment, p. 130.
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, July, 1991, Colin Kidd, review of Scotland and America in the Age of the Enlightenment, p. 523.
Library, Volume 8, December, 2007, review of The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, and America, pp. 456-458.
Review of English Studies, Volume 58, 2007, review of The Enlightenment and the Book, pp. 740-742.
William and Mary Quarterly, October, 1991, J.M. Bumsted, review of Scotland and America in the Age of the Enlightenment, p. 628.
Centre for the History of the Book Web site,http://www.hss.ed.ac.uk/ (February 3, 2008), review of The Enlightenment and the Book.
H-Net Reviews,http://www.h-net.org/ (February 7, 2008), Charles W.J. Withers, review of The Enlightenment and the Book.
Research Institute for Irish and Scottish Studies,http://www.abdn.ac.uk/riiss/ (March 5, 2008), Johanna Archbold, review of The Enlightenment and the Book.
Rutgers-Newark/New Jersey Institute of Technology Web site,http://history.newark.rutgers.edu/ (February 3, 2008), faculty profile.
University of Chicago Press Web site,http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ (February 3, 2008), publisher blurb for The Enlightenment and the Book.
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