I teach courses on a many different topics related to US political, cultural, and racial history in the modern United States. check out the teaching page on this site to find my syllabi for courses ranging from the History of Whiteness to Deconstructing Disney. I also am committed to the practice of public history. I serve as the co-director of the Public Humanities Concentration at Oberlin and have been involved in numerous public humanities projects, including consulting for the People in Nature Project at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, directing the Oberlin visit of “Courage and Compassion: Our Shared Story of the Japanese American World War II Experience,” and serving a a scholarly advisor for the Kent State May 4th Walking Tour and Visitor's Center, the Brooklyn Historical Society, Eyes on the Prize Revisited, and Radio Diaries. I served as a member of the Executive Board of the Organization of American Historians from 2016 to 2019, and am an OAH Distinguished Lecturer (check out my OAH lecturer page here). I've also served as an Oberlin campus mentor for the Posse Leadership Program.
I'm currently working on a new project, tentatively entitled "Dan Emmett and Me," which explores the history of commemoration of blackface performer and "Dixie" composer Daniel Decatur Emmett in his hometown of Mount Vernon, Ohio and my own experience as part of a multiracial family living in the area. Check out my ongoing work in the digital project, "Whitewashing Blackface and Whistling Dixie: The Commemoration of Dan Emmett."
Thanks for visiting my site! You'll find me at Oberlin College, where I am currently the Robert S. Danforth Professor of History, Professor of Africana Studies and Comparative American Studies. I earned a BA in History and Political Science from Yale in 1990, a PhD in History from Stanford in 1996, and a graduate certificate in Museum Studies from Northwestern University in 2021. I teach and write about 20th and 21st century American history, with a focus on race, historical memory, and public history. I've written or co-edited five books: Race Mixing: Black-White Marriage in Postwar America (Harvard University Press, 2003); The Civil Rights Movement in American Memory (co-edited with Leigh Raiford, University of Georgia Press, 2006); Doing Recent History: On Privacy, Copyright, Video Games, Institutional Review Boards, Activist Scholarship, and History that Talks Back (co-edited with Claire Potter, University of Georgia Press, 2012); Racial Reckoning: Prosecuting America's Civil Rights Murders (Harvard University Press, 2014); and Historians on Hamilton: How a Blockbuster Musical is Restaging America's Past (co-edited with Claire Potter, Rutgers University Press, 2018).
Renee C. Romano Oberlin College
Robert S. Danforth Professor of History, Comparative American Studies and Africana Studies