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Paul J. Croce

Professor of History
Director of American Studies

Paul Croce researches and teaches American cultural and intellectual history. His prime academic research is on the life and work of William James, the founder of American psychology and pragmatism. Croce's second book, Young William James Thinking, has just been published by John Hopkins University Press, and snippets of his stories from his research are available on his Tumblr. In addition, he has been president of the William James Society. In cooperation with Harvard's Houghton Library, he organized an international conference on the 100th anniversary of James's death. Inspired by James's commitment to public intellectual work, he teaches on issues in American history related to major values questions that manners experts advise not to bring up at the dinner table (but classrooms are an open forum for intellectual exchange), including environmental debates, war and peace, healthcare issues, science and religion and the 1950s and 1960s. His dozens of articles for newspapers and magazines on contemporary issues in politics and culture have been published widely, including at the Huffington Post, and they serve as a kind of public classroom. In fact, that is the name of his web page, The Public Classroom; see his opening essay, Dreaming in Translation.

Halloween gets a big turnout in his neighborhood, and he has turned it into a learning game. Where do kids get their ideas for their outfits? Go to > Sampling of American Popular Culture at MegaHalloween to see essays from the last seven years, and send him your guesses about the most popular outfit for this year--if you dare...


  • Ph.D., Brown University
  • B.A., Georgetown University

Course Topics

  • Pragmatism and American Culture
  • Darwinism and the Divine in American Culture
  • History of American Health Care
  • History and Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement
  • Immigration and Ethnicity in American Culture
  • American Political Cultures
  • Journalism and American Culture
  • Political Campaigns and Cultural Ideologies
  • War and Peace in American Culture
  • The First Years of Our Own Time: The American 1950s and 1960s
  • USA, The Natural Experiment: Environmental Debates
  • American Environmental Issues
  • Nature and the American Marketplace
  • Community Service
  • Survey of US History
  • American Cultural Traditions

Research Interests

  • Science and religion in American culture
  • The life and work of William James
  • American cultural values


  • Young William James Thinking, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018.
  • "Carlin Romano, UnPhilosopher of the Philosophical Landscape," Existenz: An International Journal in Philosophy, Religion, Politics, the Arts, 11/1 (Spring 2016): 53-61.
  • "Williams James and Medicine," Oxford Handbook of William James, forthcoming. 
  • "William James's Psychology of Philosophizing: Intellectual Diversity, Selective Attention, and the Sentiments in Our Rationalities," Good Society journal, 2018.
  • Science, Oxford Encyclopedia of American Religion, 2018. 
  • Science and Religion in the Era of William James, Volume 1: Eclipse of Certainty, 1820-1880, University of North Carolina Press, June 1995, simultaneous hardcover and paperback issue
  • "M/o/r/e at the Core: William James at the Root of Religion," Dialogue: a journal for young philosophers, 42 (2014): 30-35.
  • "Spilt Mysticism: William James’s Democratization of Religion,” William James Studies 9 (2013): 3-26.
  • "William James Society Presidential Address: The Non-Disciplinary James," William James Studies 8 (2012): 1-33.
  • "William James: In the Academy But Not Of It," History and Philosophy of Science (2011)
  • "Reaching Beyond Uncle William: A Century of William James in Theory and in Life," History of Psychology 13 (2010): 351-377; winner of the Best Article Award
  • "A Mannered Memory and Teachable Moment: William James and the French Correspondent in The Varieties, William James Studies 4 (Fall 2009): 36-69.
  • "Nature's Beloved Incarnations: Inquiry, Conviction, and William James," American Journal of Theology and Philosophy (Fall 2009)
  • "Freeman Dyson and Humility Theology: Revised Editions of Some Old Ways of Thinking" The Global Spiral, an E-Publication of the Metanexus Institute (November 2007), full text:
  • "Nature's Providence: From Swedenborgian Philosophy of Use to William James's Pragmatism" Transactions of the Charles Sanders Peirce Society 43 (Summer 2007): 490-508.
  • "Creationism/Creation Science" The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, Bron Taylor and Jeffrey Kaplan, eds. (Continuum International Publishers, 2004)
  • An encyclopedia entry on William James
  • An essay drawing lessons from James's convictions
  • An encyclopedia entry on nineteenth-century science and religion
  • A book review of books on American science and religion
  • An article on James's personal crisis
  • An article on James's reputation and legacy, winner of the Best Article Award, 2011, History of Psychology, American Psychological Association

Paul Croce

Faculty Expert

  • Intellectual life and popular culture
  • Science and religion

Contact Information