Smithsonian Journeys Experts

Franklin Knight

photo of Franklin Knight

Franklin W. Knight joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University in 1973. He was appointed the Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor of History from 1991 to 2014, when he entered emeritus status. Knight’s research interests focus on social, political and cultural aspects of Latin America and the Caribbean especially after the eighteenth century as well as on American slave systems in their comparative dimensions.  Knight has lectured widely across North and South America, as well as in Europe, Australia, and Japan. He has traveled to Cuba 63 times during the past 35+ years.

Knight has graduated from the University College of the West Indies-London in 1964 where he earned a B.A. He also earned M. A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He taught for several years at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, and was a visiting lecturer at the University of Texas in Austin, Howard University, Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, Colgate University, and in Spain at the Pablo de Olavide University, The University of Huelva, and the University of Andalucía. He has also served on visiting advisory committees of Harvard University, Princeton University, City University of New York, Swarthmore College, Ohio State University, Colgate University, The Schomburg Library, The University of Florida at Gainesville and the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras.

Knight has held research fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the Ford Foundation, and the National Humanities Center. He has served on committees of the Social Science Research Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Inter-American Foundation, the National Research Council, the American Historical Association, the Conference of Latin American History, The Latin American Studies Association, The American Council of Learned Societies, The Historical Society, and the Association of Caribbean Historians. He is a founding member of The Asociación de Historiadores de América Latina y el Caribe (ADHILAC), the Asociación de Historiadores Latinoamericanos (AHILA), and The Asociación de Historia Económica del Caribe (AHEC).

His analyses of Latin American and Caribbean problems have been aired on National Public Radio, the Voice of America, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the McNeill/Lehrer Report, C-Span, as well as on many local programs on commercial and public radio and television stations across the United States. He served as academic consultant and appeared in seven television programs Columbus and the Age of DiscoveryThe Buried Mirror;  AmericasPlagued: Invisible ArmiesCrucible of Empire: The War of 1898The Crucible of the Millennium; and The Louisiana Purchase. 

What Our Travelers Say

Dr. Knight added to the experience by providing interesting historical background as well as many anecdotes about his experiences over the years visiting Cuba.

- Smithsonian Journeys Traveler

Franklin was very knowledgeable and willing to share his knowledge at any time.

- Smithsonian Journeys Traveler

He is the quintessential expert and travel companion!

- Smithsonian Journeys Traveler

Franklin Knight was a powerhouse of knowledge. His lectures were never dry nor too long, and his sense of humor was delightful. Franklin was always friendly, answered any questions that were asked, and was a great traveling companion.

- Kendal R

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Feb 25, 2023 - Mar 5, 2023

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