Christopher McKnight Nichols

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Christopher McKnight Nichols
AwardsAndrew Carnegie Fellowship (2017)
Academic background
Alma mater
Academic work
Sub-disciplineAmerican history
Main interestsHistory of American foreign relations, Intellectual History, Gilded Age through the Progressive Era
Notable worksRethinking American Grand Strategy (2021), Promise and Peril (2011), Prophesies of Godlessness (2008)
WebsiteOfficial website

Christopher McKnight Nichols is an American historian. He is the Wayne Woodrow Hayes Chair in National Security Studies and Professor of History at The Ohio State University.[1]


Originally from New York City, New York, Nichols was educated at Harvard University, Wesleyan University, and the University of Virginia, where he received his PhD in history in 2008. He previously taught at the University of Virginia, where he was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, and at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow.

In 2014, he launched the Citizenship and Crisis Initiative at Oregon State University with an emphasis on issues at the intersection of citizenship, crisis, politics, international relations, civics, and engaged democracy, along with the centenary of World War I.

He has appeared regularly on C-SPAN,[2][3][4] and has been a frequent guest on public radio, on television, and on podcasts and blogs as a commentator on issues of U.S. foreign and domestic politics in historical perspective including the Washington Post,[5][6] Foreign Policy,[7] the Oregonian,[8] the Huffington Post,[9] the History News Network,[10] Philosophy Talk (aired on NPR),[9] etc.

He is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Oregon Historical Society[11] and is a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

He was named Director of the Center for the Humanities at Oregon State University in 2017. That same year, Nichols became an Organization of American Historians (OAH) Distinguished Lecturer.[12]

Nichols gave a TEDx TED Talk on April 21, 2018, at TEDxPortland, entitled “The Untold Story of American Isolationism” (aka “Why History Matters Today”).[13]


Nichols’ research focuses on the intellectual history of the United States’ role in the world from the Civil War period to the present, with an emphasis on isolationism, internationalism, and globalization. He is also a specialist on American political history and the intellectual and cultural history of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (1880-1920) through the present. Nichols is an advocate for the importance of history and the humanities in education and as a way to understand and address some of the most urgent contemporary problems.

Nichols also has researched, written, and presented extensively on the 1918 flu pandemic, including publishing a roundtable in the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (2020)[14] and doing a series of talks, including a presentation for C-SPAN to the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University (2020).[15]


Nichols is the author or editor of six books including:


In 2015, Nichols received the Roger D. Bridges Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.[16] He also received the OSU Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society “emerging scholar” of the year award for “outstanding research or creative activity.” [17]

Nichols was awarded an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship in 2016.[18]

Nichols was named Outstanding Professor of the Year by the Oregon State University Honor's College in 2014[19] and was named an Honors College Eminent Professor in 2021.[20]


  1. ^ "Christopher McKnight Nichols". Retrieved 2022-09-08.
  2. ^ "International Ideologies and U.S. Foreign Policy". C-SPAN, May 31, 2019.
  3. ^ "America First" and Foreign Policy, 1914-45". C-SPAN, April 26, 2018.
  4. ^ "Roundtable: Turning Point? Rethinking World War II as a Watershed in U.S. Foreign Relations". C-SPAN, June 23, 2016.
  5. ^ "Americans used to sacrifice for the public good. What happened?". Washington Post, Dec. 7, 2020.
  6. ^ "Trump's illness, like Woodrow Wilson's stroke, could be turning point in history". Washington Post, Oct. 10, 2020.
  7. ^ "Obama's Foreign Policy Is Winning the 2020 Democratic Primary". Foreign Policy, January 22, 2020.
  8. ^ Oregonian, Guest Columnist | The (April 5, 2020). "Opinion: Oregon response to flu in 1918 offers insights for coronavirus fight in 2020". oregonlive.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ a b Nichols, Christopher McKnight; History, ContributorAssociate Professor of; Humanities, Director Center for the (August 5, 2015). "Beyond Rand Paul's Foreign Policy Opportunity". HuffPost. {{cite web}}: |first2= has generic name (help)
  10. ^ "Consequences of the Truman Doctrine | History News Network".
  11. ^ "Philosophy Talk: The New Surveillance Society - Big Brother Grows Up". OSU/SHPR YouTube Channel.
  12. ^ "OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profiles". Organization of American Historians (OAH).
  13. ^ "The Untold Story of American Isolationism". TEDx. 29 August 2018.
  14. ^ Nichols, Christopher Mcknight; Bristow, Nancy; Ewing, E. Thomas; Gabriel, Joseph M.; Montoya, Benjamin C.; Outka, Elizabeth (2020). "Reconsidering the 1918–19 Influenza Pandemic in the Age of COVID-19". The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. 19 (4): 642–672. doi:10.1017/S1537781420000377. S2CID 225174665.
  15. ^ "The 1918 Flu Pandemic". C-SPAN, American History TV.
  16. ^ "Roger D. Bridges Distinguished Service Award". Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.
  17. ^ "Phi Kappa Phi Award Winners". Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.
  18. ^ "OSU history professor awarded prestigious Carnegie fellowship". ” Oregon State University Newsroom, April 19, 2016. 19 April 2016.
  19. ^ "History professor wins outstanding professor award". ” The Daily Barometer, June 3, 2014.
  20. ^ "Christopher McKnight Nichols and Nancy Squires named OSU Honors College Eminent Professors". Oregon State University Honors College, Jan 25, 2021.