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Thomas Borstelmann

Elwood N. and Katherine Thompson Distinguished Professor of Modern World History, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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About Thomas

Borstelmann specializes in twentieth-century U.S. and world history. His research focuses on issues of equality and inclusiveness, and on the connections between the United States and the rest of the world. Borstelmann is an historian with a particular sensitivity to how contemporary public concerns shape popular views of the past. He taught previously for twelve years at Cornell University.


In the News

Guest to discuss The 1970s: A New Global History on The John Batchelor Show, Thomas Borstelmann, April 7, 2012.
"Who We were: How Equality Begat Inequality, and Other Ways the 1970s Shaped Our World," Thomas Borstelmann, Zócalo Public Square, December 19, 2011.
"Iraq ‘Surge’ Evokes a Reminder of MacArthur’s Escalation Plan," Thomas Borstelmann, Omaha World-Herald, February 4, 2007.


"Race and the Cold War" in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Race, edited by Matthew Pratt Guterl (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).
Probes the awkward dilemma of a segregated United States trying to lead a self-proclaimed “free world” against the Soviet-led Communist bloc. Reveals that the U.S. priority of fighting the Cold War initially hurt the black civil rights movement, but by the late 1950s began instead to help the cause of racial equality, due to the liberation of nonwhite peoples abroad from European colonialism.
"The 1970s: A New Global History from Civil Rights to Economic Inequality" (Princeton University Press, 2012).
Explains the turn to social equality and economic inequality during the 1970s.
"The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations in the Global Arena " (Harvard University Press, 2001).
Examines the role of race in the shaping of U.S. foreign relations.
"Apartheid’s Reluctant Uncle: The United States and Southern Africa in the Early Cold War " (Oxford University Press, 1993).
Illuminates the U.S. response to the onset of apartheid.