Dr. Scot M. Guenter

Director and Senior Fellow

Education: Ph.D. (American Studies), Univ. of Maryland (1986); M.A. (American Studies), Univ. of Maryland (1981); B.A. (English and History), Pennsylvania State Univ. (1978).

Awards: Captain William Driver Award (for best paper delivered at the scientific program of an annual meeting of the North American Vexillological Association-Association nord-américaine de vexillologie): “The Phenomenon of Flag Homes,” NAVA 48, New Orleans, La. (2014); “Juxtaposing Symbols in Civil Religion: The Flag and the Lady,” NAVA 43, Charleston, S.C. (2009); “This Flag Has Flown Over the U.S. Capitol,” NAVA 19, Kansas City, Mo. (1985).

Honors: Laureate, Fédération internationale des associations vexillologiques; Fellow, Fédération internationale des associations vexillologiques; Whitney Smith Fellow, The Flag Research Center; Honorary Life Member, North American Vexillological Association-Association nord-américaine de vexillologie; Fellow, Vexillological Association of the State of Texas.

Selected Works: San Jose State University Library

DR. SCOT GUENTER is Professor emeritus of American Studies at San Jose State University, where he served as coordinator of the American Studies Program and director of the Campus Reading Program. His “truly original, extremely timely, and well researched and written” book, The American Flag, 1777-1924: Cultural Shifts from Creation to Codification (1990) was acknowledged at its publication as “the best study to date of the role of the national flag in American life[.]” After the book’s publication, Dr. Guenter served as a consulting expert for the Smithsonian Institution and the lawyers who argued Texas v. Johnson (1989), in which the U.S. Supreme Court that Gregory Lee Johnson’s burning of a United States flag to protest the Reagan Administration’s policies was protected expression under the First Amendment.

He founded the scholarly journal Raven in 1994 and served as a Senior Fulbright Fellow at the National University of Singapore in 1998. He edited the Proceedings of the 24th International Congress of Vexillology (2011) and co-edited Considering America from Inside and Out: A San Jose/Ostrava Dialogue Sharing Perspectives (2006). Dr. Guenter has taught at the the National University of Singapore, University of Mainz, and the University of Guam, and has lectured at conferences in Buenos Aires, Berlin, the Czech Republic, Sydney, Bangkok, and Rotterdam, among other locations.

Dr. Guenter served as the 11th president of the North American Vexillological Association-Association nord-américaine de vexillologie. He is the only three-time winner of the Captain William Driver Award for best paper delivered at the scientific program of an annual meeting of that Association. He is a former president of the California American Studies Association. When he was named Laureate of the Fédération internationale des associations vexillologiques at the 20th International Congress of Vexillogy held at Stockholm, Sweden, in 2003, he was only the fifth laureate in FIAV’s then-41-year old history.

In 2015, San Jose State University honored him with its Distinguished Service Award for exemplary service in a leadership capacity to the university, community, and profession. “Guenter’s enthusiasm for flags is contagious; he is intrigued by the fact that flags are such a universal, common symbol that at times we may forget they are all around us and influencing us in different ways,” wrote a student reporter at the time. “Guenter knows that flags connect people in many different ways, and it is perhaps this knowledge that has helped him learn how to connect with others.”