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Paul Fideler

Professor Emeritus of History and Humanities

Head shot of Paul

After forty-five years in the Lesley faculty, Paul A. Fideler retired in June 2014. Across the decades he developed courses and seminars in Western philosophy and humanities, political theory, comparative religions, modern European and World history, Victorian studies, the histories of India and South Africa, themes in American history (poverty, children, families, schooling, and social change), and historiography and literary theory. He was advisor to Lesley’s first student newspaper, The Educator, and clubs that furthered interest in history, politics, philosophy, and religions. In 1986, the Lesley College Graduating Class named Dr. Fideler the ‘Most Knowledgeable and Professional Faculty Member’. His leadership among the faculty included Humanities Division chair, founder of the Lesley Research Seminar, chair of the Lesley Faculty Senate, chair of the University Study Committee on the Liberal Arts, Provost and Presidential Search Committees, and two terms as Faculty Representative to the Board of Trustees.

Professor Fideler’s ongoing research has focused on English/British political thought, civil society, and welfare from the onset of the Protestant Reformation to the urban, industrial and imperial challenges of the Victorian era. His work includes books, articles, reviews, and dozens of presentations at regional, national, and international meetings. Among his numerous research opportunities was a resident fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library in spring 1990. He was elected to the presidencies of the New England Historical Association in 1987 and the Northeast Conference on British Studies in 1991 and served as co-convener of the New England Faculty Workshop in Early Modern History from 1992-98.

Fideler was American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellow and Visiting Scholar at Harvard University in its K-12 Humanities Teaching Project in 1992-93. Upon his retirement, the University inaugurated the “Paul A. Fideler Lecture in History and Philosophy.”

Professor Fideler earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from Brandeis University and his B.A. from St. Lawrence University.


Selected Publications

“The Poor, Civil Society and Welfare in Early Industrial Manchester”; in preparation

Social Welfare in Pre-Industrial England: The Old Poor Law Tradition (Palgrave, 2006)

“Varieties of Early Modern Political Culture,” Journal of British Studies 41, 2 (April 2002)

"Impressions of a Century of Historiography,” Albion 32, 3 (Autumn 2000)

“Rescuing Youth Culture: Cultivating Children’s Abilities as Philosophers,” Lesley Magazine (Winter 1994)

“Toward a ‘Curriculum of Hope’: The Essential Role of Humanities Scholarship in Public School Teaching,” ACLS Occasional Paper 23 (1994)

Political Thought and the Tudor Commonwealth, Senior Editor (Routledge, 1992)

“Have Historians Lost Their Perspective on the Past,” Change Magazine 16, 4 (January/February 1984)

“Christian Humanism and Poor Law Reform in Early Tudor England,” Societas IV, 4 (Autumn 1974)