Christopher McKnight Nichols

Christopher McKnight Nichols

Image credit: Mina Carson

Christopher McKnight Nichols is an associate professor of history at Oregon State University, where he also directs the Center for the Humanities and leads the Citizenship and Crisis Initiative. He specializes in the history of the United States and its relationship to the rest of the world, with a focus on isolationism, internationalism, and globalization. In addition, he is an expert on modern U.S. intellectual and political history, with an emphasis on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (1880–1920) through the present.

Nichols is the author of Promise and Peril: America at the Dawn of a Global Age (2011, 2015); he coedited and coauthored Prophesies of Godlessness: Predictions of America's Imminent Secularization from the Puritans to the Present Day (2008); and he was the senior editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Military and Diplomatic History (2013). He also coedited the Companion to the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (2017). His forthcoming co-edited book is entitled "Rethinking American Grand Strategy," and he is finishing an edited volume on the role of ideology in U.S. foreign relations, a book U.S. politics and foreign policy during the early Cold War and a sweeping study of American isolationism and internationalism.

In 2016 Nichols was named one of 33 Andrew Carnegie Fellows worldwide; he has also been elected a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations. A passionate teacher, he has received four teaching awards, including Oregon State University's Honors College Professor of the Year in 2014. Nichols is a frequent commentator on the historical dimensions of U.S. foreign policy and politics, including as a regular panelist on CNN, National Public Radio, and Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Click here for more information about Christopher McKnight Nichols.

Twitter: @CMcKNichols.


  • America First? Isolationism and U.S. Global Engagement in Historical Perspective *
  • "Everyone was in the Loop": Impeachment in Historical Perspective *
  • Ideas Matter: Rethinking U.S. Grand Strategy in the History of American Foreign Relations
  • What We Can Learn from The Influenza Epidemic of 1918-19
  • The Election of 1952 and the Pivotal Moments that Shaped the Early Cold War
  • Prophecies of Godlessness in America, from the Puritans to the Present
  • Why the Gilded Age and Progressive Era Matter Today
  • The 100th Anniversary of World War I: What Happened and Why it Matters Today

Lectures marked with a * are offered as part of the OAH's initiative, Historians' Perspectives on the Rise of Donald Trump.


"Untold Story of American Isolationism" - OAH Distinguished Lecturer Christopher Nichols

Visit the OAH YouTube channel for more audio and video recordings.