Department of American and Canadian Studies

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Christopher Phelps

Associate Professor of American History, Faculty of Arts



Christopher Phelps is a historian of modern American political and intellectual life. Born near Washington, D.C., he has taught at universities in five countries: Britain, the United States, Poland, Hungary, and Canada. He is author of the intellectual biography Young Sidney Hook (Cornell, 1997; 2d ed., Michigan, 2005) and Radicals in America (Cambridge, 2015), a comprehensive history of the American left since the Second World War co-authored with Howard Brick.

His articles have appeared in The Journal of American History, The Journal of American Studies, The Journal of the History of Sexuality, and other scholarly journals as well as popular outlets including The Financial Times, Times Higher Education, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Nation,, and Salon.

A recipient of several awards for his historical and political writing, Phelps has been awarded two Fulbright fellowships and research grants from the New York Public Library, the Huntington Library, and the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Michigan. He has been cited by The New York Times, the BBC, and other news media.

His current research agenda includes the topics of American capitalism, ideas of strikes, and sexuality at midcentury.

Expertise Summary

  • American political history
  • History of capitalism
  • History of sexuality
  • Radicalism, protest, and social movements
  • Labor, class, and strikes
  • Race and racism
  • American intellectual and cultural history
  • American pragmatism and philosophy

Teaching Summary

Autumn 2015

  • History of American Capitalism (Level 2, Q42301)
  • American Labor History (Level 3, Q43340; M.A., Q44340)

Spring 2015

  • Research leave

Selected Publications

Department of American and Canadian Studies

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