Clifton Hood, the George E. Paulsen ’49 Professor of American History and Government, is a nationally recognized expert on the history of New York City, with a particular focus on the city’s upper-class, historical memory and mass transit.
Hood is the author of 722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How they Transformed New York and 2016’s acclaimed In Pursuit of Privilege: A History of New York City’s Upper Class and the Making of a Metropolis. Currently working on a third book examining imposters in the United States as a whole, he has delivered dozens of papers and presentations at international conferences, and his writing and scholarship has been published in leading scholarly journals and national periodicals. He has also been interviewed as a featured expert in The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and programs for CNN and BBC. He is also doing preliminary work on an upcoming fourth book that will explore the relationship between industrial and post-industrial Pittsburgh; Hood is a native of a steel town outside of Pittsburgh.
A member of the HWS faculty since 1992, Hood teaches a range of courses exploring American urban history, environmental history, elites in America, and U.S. ethnicity and immigration. He holds a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from Washington University and a master’s and doctorate from Columbia University. He served as senior Fulbright Lecturer in Seoul National University in South Korea.
In 2017, Hood was appointed to the George E. Paulsen ’49 Professorship for a second term, making him the first professor to hold the distinguished honor twice.
“The endowed chair is first of all a vote of confidence from my faculty colleagues, and that means everything to me,” Hood says. “On a practical level, the money from the chair lets me be far more productive—I can go to more archives, libraries and conferences and buy more books and films. That should let me complete two more books than I otherwise could pull off, but the real benefit is intellectual liveliness and enthusiasm.”