Thomas (Tim) Borstelmann

E.N. and Katherine Thompson Professor of Modern World History Profile Image
E.N. and Katherine Thompson Professor of Modern World History History 402-472-2414 640 Oldfather Hall



Thomas (“Tim”) Borstelmann has been the Elwood N. and Katherine Thompson Distinguished Professor of Modern World History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln since 2003. He spent the previous twelve years as a member of the History Department at Cornell University.

Borstelmann graduated in the top five of his class at the Phillips Exeter Academy (1976), and holds a B.A. (Phi Beta Kappa) from Stanford University (1980) and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University (1986, 1990). His research focuses on the intersection of United States domestic history and international history. His first book, Apartheid’s Reluctant Uncle: The United States and Southern Africa in the Early Cold War (Oxford University Press, 1993) won the Stuart Bernath Prize of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations for the best first book in American diplomatic history.

Borstelmann has also published The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations in the Global Arena (Harvard University Press, 2001) and has coauthored a U.S. history textbook, Created Equal: A Social and Political History of the United States (Pearson Publishers, 5 editions, 2003-2016). In 2012, Princeton University Press published his book, The 1970s: A New Global History from Civil Rights to Economic Inequality.

In 2015, Borstelmann served as president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and won the Annis Chaikin Sorensen Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 2021, he won the Tonous and Warda Johns Family Book Award, given by the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association, for his most recent book, Just Like Us: The American Struggle to Understand Foreigners (Columbia University Press, 2020). He is currently completing an autobiographical set of essays entitled Chalk to Zoom: A Life in History and Teaching.


B.A., Stanford University, 1980
M.A., Duke University, 1986
Ph.D., Duke University, 1990


Modern United States;
U.S. Foreign Relations;
Modern World