James G. Ryan

James G. Ryan


Department of Liberal Studies (History)


+1 (409) 740-4494

James G. Ryan was reared in an apartment project in Claymont, Delaware, a tough steel mill town downstream from Philadelphia.  He graduated from a high school that was later closed by the state for poor student performance.  Ryan is proud of his working class background, because it taught him about economic injustice first-hand, even during America’s prosperous years of the 1950s and 1960s.  In college, he was a foot soldier in the resistance to the Vietnam War.

Ryan received B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Delaware, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame.  He survived for many years as an adjunct in Philadelphia.  He is now a tenured professor at Texas A&M University at Galveston.

Ryan has been a member of the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981, AFL-CIO), and sat on the executive committee of the Texas Faculty Association from 1997 to 2003.  He is part of the ongoing struggle to legalize public-sector collective bargaining in Texas and to resist the ongoing nationwide attack on unions and working and middle class Americans.

His books include Earl Browder: The Failure of American Communism (Tuscaloosa and London: University of Alabama Press, 1997; 2nd edition, 2005); the Historical Dictionary of the Gilded Age (co-edited with Leonard Schlup, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 2003); and the Historical Dictionary of the 1940s (co-edited with Leonard Schlup, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 2006).

The State Department, under President George W. Bush, appointed Ryan a Fulbright Senior Specialist at Akademia Swietorkryska in Kielce, Poland, in 2006.  Under President Barack Obama, State appointed Ryan a Fulbright Specialist at Ablay Khan Kazakh University of International Relations and World Languages, in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2009.

Shortly after the Millennium, Ryan became probably the first faculty member to protest the Department of General Academics’ name.  He contended that it implied that the department was remedial in nature, thereby denigrating its students and faculty members.  The designation also probably reduced everyone’s chances of receiving grants and publications.  In 2015, under the leadership of Department Head Professor JoAnn DiGeorgio-Lutz and Assistant Department Head Professor Victor Viser, the name was officially changed to the Department of Liberal Studies.  Ryan understands the glacial pace of reform in America.


Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 1981
M.A., University of Notre Dame, 1975
M.A., University of Delaware,  1973
B.A., University of Delaware,  1970

Recent Courses:

U.S. history to 1877
U.S. history 1877 - present
Great Depression and WWII
U.S. history 1945 - present 

Memberships in Professional Organizations:  

Fulbright Association
American Historical Association
Organization of American Historians
Historians of American Communism
Texas Faculty Association
National Education Association
National Writers Union