Sean Burns


Sean Burns has been a Bay Area based educator, writer, and musician for 28 years.  His scholarship and teaching focus on U.S. social movement history, critical theory, and California counterculture. Before joining the College Writing faculty, he served as Director of Berkeley’s Office of Undergraduate Research & Scholarship (2015-2021). In this role, Burns helped organize the campus wide Discovery Initiative and became the founding Director of the undergraduate Discovery Hub (2020-23).  He was awarded the Chancellor's Faculty Civic Engagement Award (2014) and the American Cultures Teaching Innovation Award (2015) for his course on the social movement history of the Bay Area. 

Burns earned his Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness Department at UC Santa Cruz. His book on cultural maverick Archie Green was awarded the 2012 C.L.R. James Book of the Year Award. 

Publications & Presentations: 

“Making History: Fostering Democratic Imagination Through Community Engaged Social Movement Scholarship” in Educating For Citizenship and Social Justice, ed. Tania D. Mitchell and Krista M. Soria (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). 

Archie Green: The Making of a Working-Class Hero (University of Illinois Press, 2011) Preface by David Roediger and Afterword by Nick Spitzer 

“Going Public: Archie Green’s Life Long Commitment to Laboring Culture,” International Labor and Working-Class History, special edition on “Public History and Labor History”, Fall 2009