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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 journals, and in such popular outlets as The Financial Times, Times Higher Education, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Nation,, and Salon.

In addition to several awards for excellence in historical and political writing, Phelps has received 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.

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

Expertise Summary

Available for comment on most U.S.-related news events and items, particularly regarding these topics:

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

Media appearances include the following. Television: CNN International, BBC World News, Sky News, Deutsche Welle, France 24, Al Jazeera. Radio: BBC Radio 4 ("The World at One"), BBC World Service ("Newshour"), ​BBC Radio 2 ("The Chris Evans Show"), BBC 5 Live ("Afternoon Edition"), BBC Radio Scotland ("Good Morning Scotland"), Bloomberg Radio ("First Word Europe"), LBC ("The Nick Ferrari Show," "The Andrew Castle Show"). Newsprint and internet media: quoted in The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, InsideHigherEd, and other news providers.

Teaching Summary

Autumn 2015

  • American Labor History (Level 3, Q43340; M.A., Q44340)

Spring 2016

  • American Radicalism (Level 2, Q42322)
  • Sexuality in American History (Level 3, Q43533; M.A., Q44353)

Episodically offered in past and future years:

  • History of American Capitalism (Level 2, Q42301)

Selected Publications

Department of American and Canadian Studies

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