Remembering Tyler Stovall (1954-2021)

December 17, 2021

Dear friends,

I am distressed to share the news that the distinguished historian of modern France and our former colleague Tyler Stovall passed away unexpectedly on Friday, December 10, at the age of sixty-seven.

A prolific scholar, Tyler grappled powerfully with questions of Blackness, class, and empire in France’s national self-understanding and transnational connections. His scholarly works included The Rise of the Paris Red Belt (1990), Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light (1996), Paris and the Spirit of 1919 (2012), White Freedom: The Racial History of an Idea (2021), and edited volumes that showcased a generation of emerging scholarship on race and identity in French national, colonial, and post-colonial contexts.

Tyler was a professor in our department from 2001 to 2015, and served as Dean of the Undergraduate Division of UC Berkeley’s College of Letters and Science from 2008 to 2014. He returned to the University of California, Santa Cruz, as Dean of the Humanities Division and Distinguished Professor of History in 2015. In 2020 he embarked on his new position of Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Fordham University, where he was serving at the time of his passing. Most notable among his many forms of service to the historical profession, Tyler was elected President of the American Historical Association for 2017.

Tyler’s life and scholarship are illuminated in Michael G. Vann’s biography(link is external) for his AHA Presidential address(link is external), along with his Perspectives columns(link is external) during that unsettling time. The History Department will post a full obituary on our website and in our newsletter.

Tyler’s wife is our colleague Denise Herd, Professor of Public Health and Associate Director of the Othering and Belonging Institute here at Berkeley. Our thoughts are with Denise and their family in this time of sorrow.

Cathryn Carson
Department Chair

UC Berkeley Department of History