Dean Grodzins

Historian, Teacher, Editor, Cartoonist

DEAN GRODZINS is a Senior Researcher for the Case Method Project at Harvard Business School, founded by Prof. David Moss, which promotes use of the case method to improve how the history of American democracy is taught in U.S high school history, government, and civics classes. Seven case studies on the history of American Democracy that Dean wrote as first author or co-author are being used in high schools around the country and were published in Moss, Democracy: A Case Study (Harvard, 2017).

Dean is the author of American Heretic: Theodore Parker and Transcendentalism (UNC, 2002), which won the Alan Nevins Prize from the Society of American Historians and was named an “Outstanding Academic Title” by Choice magazine, and of thirteen articles and book chapters. His essays and book reviews have appeared in The Journal of American History, The Journal of Religion, The Battersea Review, and The Root, among other print and online publications. Dean is the former editor of The Journal of Unitarian Universalist History (1995-2010). He has served as a Lecturer at Harvard University, where he taught American history and literature, and Associate Professor of History at Meadville Lombard Theological School, where he taught American religious history and was awarded a prize from the students for “service above and beyond the call of duty.” He has been a National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellow at the Massachusetts Historical Society and a Pew Faculty Fellow at Yale University. He is the creator of the prize-winning comic strip, TANGENTS (1979-2000). He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife and daughter.

Selected essays and articles by Dean are available for download at See also the link to Selected Works, above. For a good article on the High School Case Method project, see Christine Gross Loh, "A Better Way to Teach History," Atlantic, February 8, 2016.

Democracy should command the attention of teachers and students of all ages… Moss’s case studies are engagingly written, well researched, rich in content and context… Moss believes that fierce political conflicts can be constructive if they are mediated by shared ideals. He seems to demonstrate, moreover, that in a world in which ‘alternative facts’ are gaining traction, an informed understanding of the past can help us identify pathways to a prosperous and just democracy.”—Glenn C. Altschuler, The Huffington Post

“This set of well-documented, accessible essays presents the prickly challenges facing the rapidly changing American democracy, for lawmakers and citizens alike… A sterling educational tool that offers a fresh presentation of how ‘democracy in America has always been a contact sport.’”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“It’s hard to imagine a timelier book, given America’s tumultous 2016 elections, than this eminently readable survey of political disputes.”—Publishers Weekly

“This absolutely splendid book is a triumph on every level. A first-rate history of the United States, it is beautifully written, deeply researched, and filled with entertaining stories. For anyone who wants to see our democracy flourish, this is the book to read.”—Doris Kearns Goodwin