Richard White is a Pulitzer-Prize nominated historian specializing in the history of the American west, environmental history and Native American history. He is the Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at Stanford University, a faculty co-director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West and the former President of the Organization of American Historians. He received a MacArthur fellowship was awarded a Mellon Distinguished Professor grant in 2007.
White is the principal investigator for the "Shaping the West", a project in the Spatial History Lab at Stanford University, which explores the construction of space by transcontinental railroads during the late nineteenth-century. By connecting data analysis and complex visualization graphical algorithms with traditional historical sources, Professor White's team is examining historic perceptions of space in the newly settled American West.
He is a member of the Spatial History Project, a collaborative community of scholars who utilize visual analysis and digital technology to identify patterns and anomalies in their research.
White previously taught at the University of Washington, University of Utah, and Michigan State University. His areas of expertise include corruption in the Gilded Age, dependency and social change among Native Americans and the history of the environment, including railroads, rivers and lakes.
He studied at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of Washington. He has been at Stanford since 1998 where he took a Sophomore class to Washington D.C. to explore imagery and mythmaking in the American West.
His book, The Middle Ground: Indians Empires and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, was a Pulitzer Prize nominated finalist. It also won the Francis Parkman Prize for the best book on American History, the Albert B. Corey Prize for U.S.-Canadian History, the James A. Rawley Prize for the history of race relations, and the Albert J. Beveridge Award for best English-language book on American History.
His latest book, Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America won the Los Angeles Times Book Award.
Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America. W.W. Norton & Co, 2011
"Corporations, Corruption, and the Modern Lobby: A Gilded Age Story of the West and the South in Washington, D.C.", Southern Spaces, 16 April 2009
Remembering Ahanagran: A History of Stories. New York: Hill and Wang, 1998
The Organic Machine: The Remaking of the Columbia River. New York: Hill and Wang, 1996
"It's Your Misfortune and None of my Own": A History of the American West. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991
The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815. Cambridge University Press, 1991
The Roots of Dependency: Subsistence, Environment, and Social Change Among the Choctaws, Pawnees, and Navajos. University of Nebraska Press, 1983
Land Use, Environment, and Social Change: The Shaping of Island County, Washington. University of Washington Press, 1979
Prof. White in the News
Audio and Video
Youtube video of an interview at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, 16 September, 2009
Youtube video of a seminar for the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, 17 April, 2009
Youtube video from a visit to Emory University for the J. Harvey Young Lecture Theatre, 3 April, 2009
The History News Network's Recording of Professor White at the Organization of American Historians, March 31, 2009
NPR's Morning Edition Interview, July 11, 2011
NPR's The Diane Rehm Show, June 13, 2011
- Native American History
- Environmental History
- The American West
- Race Relations
- The American Northeast
- Canadian history
- Digital History