Christopher McKnight Nichols teaches history at Oregon State University. He specializes in the history of the United States and its relationship to the rest of the world, particularly in the areas of isolationism, internationalism, and globalization. In addition, he is an expert on modern U.S. intellectual, cultural, and political history, with an emphasis on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (1880-1920) through the present.
Dr. Nichols is the author of Promise and Peril: America at the Dawn of a Global Age (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011), which explains the origins of modern American isolationism and the dynamic interplay of international engagement, isolationist thought, and domestic reform from the 1890s through the 1940s.
*Promise and Peril named a top-12 “best global book of 2011” by Baillard International.
*Promise and Peril selected as a top-25 “overlooked political book of 2011” by the Huffington Post.
Nichols co-edited and co-authored, with Charles Mathewes, Prophesies of Godlessness: Predictions of America’s Imminent Secularization from the Puritans to the Present Day (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).
Nichols is Senior Editor, with David Milne, and Editor-in-Chief Timothy Lynch, of the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Military and Diplomatic History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).
Dr. Nichols is at work on numerous new projects including three book-length studies. First, tentatively entitled Republican Revival (Oxford University Press), is a book on the early Cold War, Robert Taft, Dwight Eisenhower, the election of 1952, and the end of conservative isolationism; second, is a major exploration of the global dynamics of the Monroe Doctrine; and third is a sweeping study of the U.S. role in the world and global anti-imperialism over the past one-hundred and fifty years.
Other writing and research:
A frequent writer and commentator on current American foreign and domestic policy, U.S. interventions abroad, and on historical insights regarding contemporary political challenges and changes, Dr. Nichols is keenly interested in the role of ideas in international relations. Nichols has presented papers and published articles and opinion pieces in academic journals and newspapers on subjects including U.S. engagement with the world, transnationalism, the Spanish-American War, race and segregation, international pacifism, WWI, progressivism, pluralism, trans-Atlantic liberal reform, U.S.-Latin American relations, neutrality laws, ethics and foreign policy, the Monroe Doctrine, the Cold War, the War Powers Act, privacy and intelligence imperatives, open diplomacy, the philosophy of history, deliberative democracy, anti-imperialism, interwar American political economy, media influences on U.S. politics, religion and secular thought, and the relationship between ideology and foreign policy. Nichols also is a specialist on religion and American politics and foreign policy, with an emphasis on secularization and the rise of the so-called “nones” (non-religious identifiers) in U.S. history.
Nichols is active in various professional societies including the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), as an appointed official society blogger and serves on the William Appleman Williams Fellowship Committee and the 2014 SHAFR Conference Program Committee, the Society for U.S. Intellectual History (S-USIH), as a member of the 2013 USIH Conference Program Committee, and the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (SHGAPE), on the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era Article Awards Committee, as the Society’s webmaster and web-content editor, and serves as a member of various SHGAPE Executive Council committees.
Nichols studied at Harvard College, Wesleyan University, and the University of Virginia, where he received his M.A. and Ph.D. in History. Before coming to OSU Nichols was Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the History Department at the University of Pennsylvania and was Postdoctoral Fellow in U.S. History at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia.