Bruce Dierenfield, PhD Professor/Director All-College Honors

Bruce Dierenfield, PhD

Phone: 888-2683
Office: CT 607

Bruce J. Dierenfield, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of St. Olaf College, holds a PhD in American history from the University of Virginia. Since 1986, he has been professor of history at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, where he specializes in 20th century American politics, society, and law and directs the All-College Honors Program. For six years, he was a Peter Canisius Distinguished Teaching Professor, and coordinated the college's program in the African American Experience. In 2004, he received the college’s Martin Luther King, Jr. award for fostering human rights. Dierenfield has also taught at the University of Helsinki (Finland), at Nanjing University (China), and, as a senior Fulbright scholar, at the Universities of Cologne and Bonn (Germany). He is the author or coauthor of five books, including The Federal Role and Activities in Energy Research and Development, 1946-1980: An Historical Summary (1983), Keeper of the Rules: Congressman Howard W. Smith of Virginia (1987), The Civil Rights Movement (2004), and The Battle over School Prayer: How Engel v. Vitale Changed America (2007). This last book received the Langum Prize in American Legal History and an Alpha Sigma Nu book prize for professional studies. His most recent book is A History of African-American Leadership (2012). To read more about him, click here for his Curriculum Vitae.



  • History of Congress, History of Public Policy, Origins of American Constitution
  • 1960s, 20th Century Presidents, Civil Rights Movement, Crime & Punishment, Post-1945 America
  • Political Campaigns
  • Civil Rights Movement, Race in Modern American History, Women’s Rights Movement
  • American History
  • Congress, Origins of American Constitution, Public Policy
  • Religion in Public Education, School Prayer (Church vs. State)
  • America’s Immigrant Heritage, American Peace Movement , Grassroots Movements
  • Women’s Rights Since 1900