20th Century International Focus Field

The Ph.D. faculty in Twentieth-Century International History are among the leaders in this diverse field. Collectively, their research interests include Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, focusing on such nations as Algeria, France, China, Germany, South Africa, and Turkey, and such topics as colonialism, decolonization, espionage, intelligence, race relations, and world wars. Known for their comparative approach and their wide-ranging books that cover every continent, our faculty in this focus field teach various courses on twentieth-century international history, including America and the world, the Ottoman Empire, the First and Second World Wars, anticolonialism and decolonization, nationalist movements, the Holocaust, international relations, and the Cold War.

Several institutions at the University help to facilitate the study of 20th Century International history:

Additionally, several prominent archives are within a day’s drive from campus, including:

Our program enables students to pursue graduate specializations in a number of areas related to 20th Century International history:

Our Faculty

Thomas (“Tim”) Borstelmann is the Elwood N. and Katherine Thompson Professor of Modern World History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His books include Apartheid’s Reluctant Uncle: The United States and Southern Africa in the Early Cold War (1993), The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations in the Global Arena (2001), and The 1970s: A New Global History from Civil Rights to Economic Inequality (2012). He is currently at work on a book on how Americans have understood non-Americans across the sweep of U.S. history. Borstelmann served as Vice President (2014) and President (2015) of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

Parks M. Coble is a specialist in 20th century China with particular focus on the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945 and its aftermath, as well as the history of capitalism in modern China. His most recent book is on China’s war reporters and their legacy.

Dawne Y. Curry is an Associate Professor of History and Ethnic Studies. Specializing in the history of South Africa, Curry's research has focused on resistance to apartheid, colonization, gender, Diaspora history, death, and music. Her next book project is about African women as intellectuals in South Africa during the era of apartheid.

Bedross Der Matossian is an Associate Professor of History concentrating on Modern Middle East History. He completed his PhD at Columbia University in 2008. His areas of interest include ethnic politics in the Middle East, inter-ethnic violence in the Ottoman Empire, Palestinian history, and the history of the Armenian Genocide. He is the author of Shattered Dreams of Revolution: From Liberty to Violence in the Late Ottoman Empire (Stanford University Press, 2014).

James D. Le Sueur is Professor and Chair of History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Senior Associate Member of the Middle East Centre at St. Anthony’s College, Oxford. He has written extensively about French colonialism, European decolonization, intellectuals, literature, terrorism, and Algeria. He is currently writing a book about decolonization since 1919 and is making a documentary feature film about intellectuals from Muslim-majority states threated by radical Islamists in the wake of Salman Rushdie Affair.

Gerald J. Steinacher is an Associate Professor of History and Rosenberg Professor of Judaic Studies. He specializes in the history of the Holocaust with a particular focus on the experience of perpetrators and bystanders (Täterforschung). His latest book, Nazis on the Run. How Hitler's Henchmen Fled Justice (OUP), was awarded the 2011 National Jewish Book Award. Steinacher’s new research project focuses on motivations and responses to the Holocaust of humanitarian organizations and Christian churches.

Alexander Vazansky is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg in 2009. His research interests include postwar German-American relations, GIs in Germany, and the 1960s in a transatlantic perspective. He is currently completing his book about the U.S. Army in Germany between 1968-1975 and is planning to write his next book on militarism and anti-militarism in West Germany during the 1970s and 1980s.