Biographical / Historical
Arthur Joseph Slavin was born on February 15, 1933 in New York City. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1950 and began attending New York University on a pre-med track. In 1951, he joined the U.S. Air Force and fought in Korea until 1955. After the war, Slavin attended Louisiana State University and received his A.B. in History and Politics in 1958. He then received his Ph.D. in History from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1961.
Slavin’s professional career began at Bucknell University where he worked as an assistant professor in History from 1961 to 1965. He then worked as an assistant professor (1965-1966), associate professor (1966-1970), and eventually full professor in history (1970-1974) at UCLA. Slavin also worked as a history at UC-Irvine from 1970-1974.
In 1974, Slavin was hired by the University of Louisville to be dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and he held this position until 1977. During his tenure as dean, he was praised for helping move the college to a higher prominence both locally and nationally. Slavin was instrumental in the creation of the Women’s Studies Program and the Pan-African Studies Department. In 1977, Slavin resigned as dean and began working as the Justus Bier Distinguished Professor of Humanities, a position created for him. Slavin was appointed as director of the International Center in the mid-1990s. He continued as the Bier professor until retiring in 1998. As Professor Emeritus, Slavin continued teaching graduate level courses in the Humanities department until 2011.
Throughout his career, Slavin was a member of many high-profile associations such as the American Historical Association, American Academy of Political Science, Conference on Early Modern History, Conference on British Studies, Medieval Academy of America, Past and Present Society, Renaissance Society of America, and the Royal Historical Society of Great Britain. He specialized in 16th century England, but also wrote about prominent people (Edvard Munch, Henrik Ibsen, Knut Hamsun), the Holocaust, music history, and the history of Christianity.