Timothy Patrick McCarthy is an award-winning scholar, educator, and public servant. He holds a joint faculty appointment in Harvard’s undergraduate honors program in History and Literature, the Graduate School of Education, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he is Core Faculty and Director of Culture Change & Social Justice Initiatives at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. Dr. McCarthy is also founding Faculty Convener of the Carr Center’s Emerging Human Rights Leaders Program.
A historian of politics and social movements, slavery and abolition, the art and literature of protest, media culture, and human rights, Dr. McCarthy is the author or editor of five books with the New Press, including The Radical Reader: A Documentary History of the American Radical Tradition (2003), Prophets of Protest: Reconsidering the History of American Abolitionism (2006), and Stonewall's Children: Living Queer History in the Age of Liberation, Loss, and Love(forthcoming). He has been awarded fellowships from the Massachusetts Historical Society, Mass Humanities, National Endowment for the Humanities, Mellon and Ford Foundations, Open Gate Foundation, and Harvard’s Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History.
The adopted only son and grandson of public school teachers and factory workers, his courses—“American Protest Literature,” “Stories of Slavery and Freedom,” and “Arts of Communication”—are consistently among the most popular and highly rated at Harvard. He is the recipient of many awards for his teaching and mentoring, including the Stephen Botein Prize for Excellence in Teaching, Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize for Outstanding Senior Thesis Advising, John R. Marquand Award for Exceptional Advising and Counseling, Derek Bok Center Award for Teaching Excellence, and HKS Dean’s Award for Exceptional Leadership and Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. McCarthy is also the Stanley Paterson Professor of American History in the Boston Clemente Course in Dorchester, Massachusetts, a free college humanities course for low-income adults and co-recipient of the 2015 National Humanities Medal.
Dr. McCarthy is the host and director of A.R.T. of Human Rights, a regular public series, co-sponsored by the Carr Center and the American Repertory Theater, that brings academics, artists, and activists together to explore the relationship between art and social change. A frequent media commentator, Dr. McCarthy is featured in several documentary films, has appeared on NPR, BBC, CBS News, Air America, Bloomberg Radio, Al Jazeera, Democracy Now!, HuffPost Live, and Big Think, and has published essays in The Daily Beast, Salon, Boston Globe, Huffington Post, and The Nation.
In 2012, Dr. McCarthy was a member of the first-ever LGBTQ delegation from the U.S. to Israel/Palestine and currently serves on the board of Free the Slaves. From 1997 to 2012, Dr. McCarthy directed the Alternative Spring Break Church Rebuilding Program, where he brought hundreds of students down South to rebuild African-American churches destroyed in arson attacks. He has also served as an advisor on numerous political campaigns, including the 2008 Presidential campaign, when he was a founding member of Barack Obama’s National LGBT Leadership Council.
Dr. McCarthy graduated with honors in History and Literature from Harvard College, and earned his M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in History from Columbia University. He and his husband live in Quincy House, where they have been Resident Scholars since 2010.