John Pettegrew teaches U.S. history at Lehigh, specializing in late-19th and 20th-century thought and culture. His publications include the book Brutes in Suits: Male Sensibility in America, 1890-1920 (2007), an examination of the putatively male instinct of aggressiveness as ideologically constructed in social science, law, literature, and sports and military cultures. His current research includes the optics of combat in the Iraq War, and the emergence of empathy in 20th-century social thought.
Pettegrew has been taken with Bethlehem and its history since joining Lehigh's faculty in the last millennium. He's worked as a consultant with Bethlehem's ensemble theater Touchstone Theater on a number of productions. And his interest in public history has led to documentary film making, including the study he produced with his undergraduate students, Work in Progress: Bethlehem Steel during World War II (1998). As co-founder Co-Director of the South Side Initiative, Pettegrew has spearheaded, among other projects, the Southside Community Gardens. He helped found the Lehigh Community Garden in 2010. In 2011 he is focused on developing Lehigh's Center for Documentary Film and Digital Media, a program working in close collaboration with Lehigh's Library and Technology Services as well the local television station, PBS-39.