Timothy Patrick McCarthy

Timothy Patrick McCarthy

Lecturer in Public Policy
Lecturer on History and Literature

phone:  617.384.9023
office:  R-206

KSG Profile  |  Personal Blog


Timothy Patrick McCarthy, is Lecturer on History and Literature and on Public Policy at Harvard University, where he directs the Sexuality, Gender, and Human Rights Program at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is also Vice President of College Alumni Affairs for the Harvard Alumni Association.

A historian of politics and social movements, McCarthy graduated with honors in History and Literature from Harvard College, and earned his MA, MPhil, and PhD in History from Columbia University, where he completed his dissertation under the direction of Pulitzer Prize-winning historians Eric Foner and the late Manning Marable. From 1994-1998, he was a research fellow at Columbia’s Institute for Research in African-American Studies, where he was founding managing editor of the journal Race & Reason (now Souls). McCarthy has published four books—The Radical Reader: A Documentary History of the American Radical Tradition (New Press,

 2003); Prophets of Protest: Reconsidering the History of American Abolitionism (New Press, 2006); Protest Nation: Words That Inspired a Century of American Radicalism (New Press, 2010); The Indispensable Zinn: The Essential Writings of the People’s Historian (New Press, 2012)—and his fifth book, Stonewall’s Children: A Modern Story of Liberation, Loss, and Love, will be published next spring by the New Press. He is also lead editor for the forthcoming three-volume series, Resistance in Words: The Global Literature of Protest (Gale, 2014). A frequent media commentator, McCarthy has appeared on NPR, BBC, Air America, Bloomberg Radio, Radio Free Europe, Al Jazeera, Democracy Now!, and Big Think, and has written for The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, Boston Globe, History News Network, Gay and Lesbian Review, In These Times, and The Nation.

The only son and grandson of public school teachers and factory workers, McCarthy is an award-winning teacher and advisor whose courses—“American Protest Literature from Tom Paine to Tupac,” “Stories of Slavery and Freedom,” and “Arts of Communication”—are consistently among the most popular and highly rated at Harvard. He is the recipient of Harvard’s Stephen Botein Prize for Excellence in Teaching (2000), John R. Marquand Award for Exceptional Advising and Counseling (2003), Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize for Outstanding Thesis Advising (2002, 2009), Derek Bok Certificate for Teaching Excellence (2006-2012), and the Dean’s Award for Distinction in Teaching at the Harvard Kennedy School (2009-2012).

In addition to his writing and teaching, McCarthy has devoted his life to public service and social justice, particularly around issues of racial, sexual, and socioeconomic justice, educational equity, peace, and human rights. Since 1990, he has been a Big Brother to Malcolm Green, now 26, whom he met while volunteering in the Cambridge public schools as an undergraduate. As founding director of Harvard’s Alternative Spring Break Church Rebuilding Program, he has spent the last fifteen years organizing groups of undergraduates to help rebuild African-American churches that have been destroyed in arson attacks. In honor of this work, McCarthy received the 2007 Humble Servant Award from the National Coalition for Burned Churches, and the 2010 Advocate Award from the Phillips Brooks House Association. Since 2001, McCarthy has also directed and taught in the Boston Clemente Course, a multi-disciplinary college humanities course offered free of charge to low-income adults through the Codman Square Health Center in Dorchester, Massachusetts. A respected leader in the LGBTQ community, McCarthy was a founding member of Barack Obama’s National LGBT Leadership Council, has given expert testimony to the Pentagon Comprehensive Working Group on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” serves on the boards of the Harvey Milk Foundation and the Harvard Gay and Lesbian Caucus, and is lead research investigator and founding board member for Face Value, a new organization dedicated to eradicating social and cultural stigma against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. Since 2010, he and his Face Value colleagues have received $1.1 million from the Ford Foundation to support their research and advocacy. In January 2012, McCarthy was part of the first-ever LGBTQ delegation from the United States to Israel and Palestine. He is also the Acting Board Chair for Free the Slaves, a leading international anti-slavery NGO based in Washington, DC.

McCarthy lives in Cambridge, MA, with his husband C.J. Crowder, a noted education reformer who directs leadership and diversity initiatives for Achievement First. They are Resident Affiliates of Quincy House.