Charlie Bright is a historian, trained in European military and geopolitical history, who has moved far afield in his teaching and research — pushed along by his own intellectual curiosity and by the openness and rigors of undergraduate teaching at the RC over the last thirty years. His two books, on statemaking and social movements and on prison history grew out of courses he taught and research projects he led in the RC; many of more recent published essays on globalization were conceived in a collaborative course he has taught for many years in the RC and the History Department. Instead of offering courses in his scholarly speciality, Bright’s research and writing grows out of his teaching and has moved far beyond the fields of his training (although he draws heavily on his background in geopolitics to inform his scholarly work on global history and the politics of power).
Bright has also long been interested in theater and has taught several courses over the years in collaboration with faculty in the Drama Program — including one on theater and politics in interwar Germany that underwrote a series of productions of plays by Bertolt Brecht in the RC, and more recently in collaborations with Detroit area theater companies, doing oral histories of the city that are then transformed into plays or musicals. His new collaboration, with the Mosaic Youth Theater of Detroit, will begin in the coming academic year. Again, it is the unique interdisciplinary environment of the RC that has allowed him to combine his training in history with his love of the stage, and to make both a continuing part of his academic career.
For the last three years, Bright has served as the eighth Director of the Residential College. He is also the faculty co-Director of the new Semester in Detroit program of the LSA that is based in the RC. In recent years, he was instrumental in the re-creation of the Arts of Citizenship program on campus and he served as chair of the Citizenship Theme Year in the LSA.
The Origins of Social Science Thinking
Globalization in History
The History and Theory of Punishment