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Ben Vinson III became Dean of the George Washington University Columbian College in summer 2013. He provides leadership vision and guidance to more than 40 academic departments and programs, 27 centers and institutes, and over 1,000 faculty members. Columbian College has the largest student body of GW’s 10 undergraduates and graduate schools with more than 7,700 students enrolled.
Elected to the National Humanities Center board of trustees in October 2013, Dean Vinson’s scholarship focuses on colonial Mexico, especially the African presence in Mexico. He has authored and co-authored several books and numerous articles on the military participation of blacks in the militias, labor, free black populations in Mexico, slavery in Latin America more broadly, African American experiences in Mexico and Afro-Mexican experiences in the United States. He is currently researching the colonial Latin American caste system.
Prior to his time at GW, Vinson was the vice dean for centers, interdepartmental program, and graduate programs at the Johns Hopkins University’s Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. A member of the faculty since 2006, he was the Herbert Baxter Adams Professor of Latin American History and formerly directed the university’s Center for Africana Studies. Before his time at Hopkins, Vinson held faculty positions at Penn State University and Barnard College. He has been awarded fellowships from the Fulbright Commission, National Humanities Center, Social Science Research Council, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Ford, Rockefeller and Mellon foundations. Vinson earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a doctorate from Columbia University.