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Paul A. Kramer

Associate Professor of History

Prospective graduate students interested in applying to work under Prof. Kramer’s supervision in the PhD program should download and read this brief set of guidelines.

Paul A. Kramer’s primary research interests are in modern U. S. history, with an emphasis on transnational, imperial and global histories, American social thought, and the politics of inequality.

His first book, The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States and the Philippines (University of North Carolina Press; Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2006), explores the imperial politics of race-making between U. S. and Philippine societies in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. It was awarded the Organization of American Historians’ James A. Rawley Prize and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations’ Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize, and was a finalist for the Philippines’ National Book Award in the Social Science category.

He is currently writing a methodological book on the transnationalizing of US history, under contact with Oxford University Press, and a book on intersections between immigration policy and US foreign relations. Recent academic publications include:

“The Geopolitics of Mobility: Immigration Policy and U. S. Global Power in the Long 20th Century,” American Historical Review, April 2018, pp. 1-47.

“History in a Time of Crisis,” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 19, 2017.

“A Complex of Seas: Passages between Pacific Histories,” Amerasia Journal, Vol. 42, No. 3 (2016), pp. 32-41.

“Embedding Capital: Political-Economic History, the United States, and the World,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 15 (2016), pp. 331-62.

“Shades of Sovereignty: Racialized Power, the United States and the World,” in Frank Costigliola and Michael Hogan, eds., Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations, 3rd edition (Cambridge University Press, 2016), pp. 245-270.

“How Did the World Become Global?: Transnational History, Beyond Connection” 

Alongside his academic research, Prof. Kramer writes for the New Yorker, Slate, the New York Times, and other publications on themes relating to the history of the United States in the world. His public scholarship has included narrative essays on the origins of the U. S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, the practice of water torture during the Philippine-American War, performances of foreignness by African Americans in the mid-20th century, the shifting and ambiguous character of the U. S.-Mexico border, and the entanglements of Hurricane Katrina with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other themes.

Prof. Kramer has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright program and the Smithsonian Institution, and was named a Top Young Historian by History News Network. He is co-editor of Cornell University Press’ series “The United States in the World: Transnational Histories, International Perspectives” and was program chair for “The United States in the World/The World in the United States,” the 2009 annual conference of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. He has served on the editorial boards of Diplomatic History, Labor: Working-Class History of the Americas, and Philippine Studies, and on the Councils of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.

He teaches a wide range of courses in modern U. S. history and the history of the United States in the world at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including Transnational America, 1880-1940; Transnational America, 1940-2010; Race, Gender and 20th Century U. S. International History; Race, Power and Modernity; Class, Culture and Power in the 20th Century United States; The Craft of History; American Masculinities; Militarization and American Society in the 20th Century; Immigration and U. S. Foreign Relations in the 20th Century; Modern Colonialism in Global History; and Spatializing History.

Undergraduate students interested in working with Prof. Kramer on immersion projects should first enroll in one of his undergraduate courses, ideally one that overlaps as much as possible with themes they hope to explore through immersion.  Students drawn to immersion projects involving narrative non-fiction writing and issues of social change in Nashville should enroll in Writing for Social Change the next time it is offered.

Prospective graduate students interested in applying to work under Prof. Kramer’s supervision should contact him at his departmental e-mail address,