Professor Gernes is an interdisciplinary historian whose teaching and scholarship focuses on American culture and society in the from the 19th century to the present, with specializations in literary history, decorative arts and material culture, the history of the book, museum studies, race and ethnicity, and gender and sexuality. Gernes pursues scholarly work in American cultural history and has published articles and book reviews in MELUS, The New England Quarterly, The African American Review, and The Winterthur Portfolio, as well as essays in scholarly anthologies. 

Present research includes the education and literary development of feminist public intellectual Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935); the life and work of American symbolist painter, Charles Walter Stetson the life and times of Boston poet, bon vivant, and museum founder, Charles Hammond Gibson, Jr. (1874-1954); and a study of Rhode Island industrialist, philosopher, and Abolitionist Rowland Hazard (1801-1888).


  • B.A. and M.A., English and American Literature, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • A.M. and Ph.D., American Civilization, Brown University

Courses Taught

  • Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (HIS 128)
  • American Family History (HIS 130)
  • Civil Rights Movement 1945-1966 (HIS 234)
  • American Nation I (HIS 281)
  • American Nation II (HIS 282)
  • Gilded Age and Progressive Era 1865-1929 (HIS 309)
  • Electric Guitar in American Culture (HIS 337)
  • Public History (HIS 380)
  • A City on a Hill: A Cultural History of Boston, Massachusetts (Topic in U. S. Cultural History, HIS 306)