Bolstering the History Department's depleted British wing, a University of Chicago scholar has accepted a Harvard tenure offer, professors said yesterday.
Mark A. Kishlansky, an expert in 17th century British political history, accepted the lifetime post in December, according to a history professor.
"He is young and dynamic," said Professor of History Simon M. Schama. "He will bring a lot of energy into the department."
Lawrence Stone, a historian at Princeton, also praised Kishlansky. "He is vigorous, innovative, Challenging and controversial--controversial but very distinguished," Stone said.
Kishlansky replaces long-time Harvard professor Wallace T. MacCaffrey, who retired last year.
The department is also searching for an expert on modern British history to replace John Clive, who died last December.
Kishlansky's most recent book cemented his reputation as an innovative scholar, Stone said In Parlimentory Selection, published in 1986, Kishlansky "presents an ingenious argument that before 1640 [there were] few contested elections" because only the social elite could run for office, said Stone.
Kishlansky argued that 1660 was the beginning of modern day politics. Politicalization of English society "broke apart the identity of interest within the ruling classes and gave rise to the competition so evident in electoral contests," he wrote.
Past works had argued that Parliamentaryelections had always been contentious, accordingto Stone.
"He has changed the face of the field which isa very good thing," Schama said. "I am lookingforward to working with him."
Kishlansky, currently researching at theHuntington Library in San Marino, California,could not be reached for comment yesterday