Martha Hodes

Professor of History

Princeton University, PhD 1991

Office Address: 

King Juan Carlos Center, Room 412



Personal Homepage:

Field of Study: 

United States

Research Interests: 

19th-century United States; race; Civil War and Reconstruction; gender; craft of historical writing

Curriculum Vitae


Martha Hodes holds degrees from Bowdoin College, Harvard University, and Princeton University. She came to NYU in 1994 and has since taught as a Visiting Professor at Princeton University and as a Fulbright Scholar in Germany. She is the author of Mourning Lincoln (Yale University Press, 2015), The Sea Captain’s Wife: A True Story of Love, Race, and War in the Nineteenth Century (W. W. Norton, 2006), and White Women, Black Men: Illicit Sex in the Nineteenth-Century South (Yale University Press, 1997).

Hodes has published articles and essays in the American Historical Review, the Journal of American History, and Rethinking History, among other scholarly journals, and in numerous edited collections, including Violence and Visibility in Modern History, Transnational Lives: Biographies of Global Modernity, and Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History. She has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and, and has appeared on the PBS News Hour. She has been interviewed about her books in the Boston Globe, on the Diane Rehm Show on National Public Radio, and on many other public and commercial radio shows, both national and international. Hodes has presented her scholarship across the United States, in Europe, and Australia, speaking at universities and colleges, high schools and elementary schools, historical societies, libraries, and museums, and has appeared at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and the Southern Festival of Books, among other literary events. She serves as a consultant for documentaries, radio and television shows, and museum exhibitions on many aspects of American history.

At NYU, Hodes teaches courses on race, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the nineteenth-century United States. With a special interest in the craft of history-writing, Hodes also teaches courses on Writing the Civil War, History and Storytelling, Biography and History, Reconstructing Lives, and Experimental History.


Elected Fellow, Society of American Historians; Harvard University, Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, residential fellow; Massachusetts Historical Society, residential NEH fellow; Fulbright Scholar, Germany; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library, residential fellow; National Endowment for the Humanities, fellowship; American Council of Learned Societies, fellowship; Lincoln Book Prize, finalist; Allan Nevins Prize for Literary Distinction in the Writing of History; Whiting Foundation, fellowship; Golden Dozen Teaching Award, NYU. 


PBS News Hour, “How America Moved on in the Days After the Civil War”
National Public Radio interviews:
“Diane Rehm Show,” Washington, D.C., American University Public Radio
“Radio Times,” Philadelphia Public Radio
“Backstory,” Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Public Radio
“State of Things,” North Carolina Public Radio
“On Second Thought,” Georgia Public Radio
“Midday,” Baltimore Public Radio
“Kathleen Dunn Show,” Wisconsin Public Radio
“Word of Mouth,” New Hampshire Public Radio
“Front Porch,” New Hampshire Public Radio
“Perspectives,” El Paso Public Radio
“Book Show,” Northeast Public Radio
“Nightwaves,” BBC-London
“Late Night Live,” Australian BBC
Vetenskapsradion Historia, Swedish Public Radio

Selected Works:


HODESCOVERMOURNINGLINCOLN.jpgMourning Lincoln, Yale University Press, 2015.
Editor's Choice, Sunday New York Times Book Review





SeaCaptain.jpgThe Sea Captain's Wife: A True Story of Love, Race, and War in the Nineteenth Century (W.W. Norton, 2006).  Lincoln Prize Finalist; Book of the Month Club, Literary Guild, and Quality Paperback Book Club alternate selection; Best Books of 2006, Library Journal.
Please visit the website:




WhiteWomenBlackMenBOOK.jpgWhite Women, Black Men: Illicit Sex in the Nineteenth-Century South (Yale University Press, 1997). Winner of Allan Nevins Prize, Society of American Historians; Honorable Mention, Outstanding Book, Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights.





SexLoveRaceBOOK2jpg.jpgSex, Love, Race: Crossing Boundaries in North American History (New York University Press, 1999, second printing 2004), edited collection.





"Utter Confusion and Contradiction: Franz Boas and the Problem of Human Complexion," in Indigenous Visions, ed. Isaiah Wilner and Ned Blackhawk (New Haven: Yale University Press, forthcoming).

"Lincoln’s Black Mourners: Submerged Voices, Everyday Life, and the Question of Storytelling," Social Text, forthcoming.

"The Power of Indifference: Violence, Visibility, and Invisibility in the New York City Race Riot of 1900," in Violence and Visibility in Modern History, ed. Jürgen Martschukat and Silvan Niedermeier (New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013), 73-90.

"Knowledge and Indifference in the New York City Race Riot of 1900: An Argument in Search of a Story," Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice 15 (March 2011): 61-89.

"A Story With an Argument: Writing the Transnational Life of a Sea Captain’s Wife," in Transnational Lives: Biographies of Global Modernity, 1700-Present, ed. Desley Deacon, Penny Russell, Angela Woollacott (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 15-26.

"Experimental History in the Classroom," Perspectives: The Newsmagazine of the American Historical Association 45 (May 2007): 38-40.

"Fractions and Fictions in the United States Census of 1890," in Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History, ed. Ann Laura Stoler (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006), 240-70.

"Four Episodes in Re-Creating a Life," Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice, 10 (June 2006): 277-90.

"The Mercurial Nature and Abiding Power of Race: A Transnational Family Story,"

American Historical Review 108 (Feb. 2003): 84-118.

"Explorations in Teaching Inspiration," Journal of American History 84 (March 1998): 1439-46.

"The Sexualization of Reconstruction Politics: White Women and Black Men in the South after the Civil War," Journal of the History of Sexuality 3 (Jan. 1993): 402-17.

"Wartime Dialogues on Illicit Sex: White Women and Black Men in the Civil War South," in Divided Houses: Gender and the Civil War, ed. Catherine Clinton and Nina Silber (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 230-42.

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Updated on 01/05/2017