R. A. Lawson – Producer & Historian – The Boatbuilders

R. A. Lawson is an historian of American culture with wide-ranging interests the arts,
both performative and material. Dr. Lawson earned his Ph.D. in History at Vanderbilt
University in 2003 after taking a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University. His
signature work is Jim Crow’s Counterculture: The Blues and Black Southerners, 1890-
1945, which won the Gulf South Historical Association’s Thomason Prize for book of the
year in 2011. More recent publications and presentations cover the theatrical works of
August Wilson and the cultural history of medicine in the U.S.—work that is funded by
the National Endowment of the Humanities. Dr. Lawson has won the Hicks-Kennedy
Award for service to the New England History Teachers Association for his role as
associate editor of the New England Journal of History. He recently earned the
Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Society of Leadership and Success for
his work at Dean College, where he has been on the faculty since 2003. A native of the
Great Lakes and life-long sailor, Lawson enthusiastically pursues the history of
boatbuilding and sailing in his adoptive home of New England.