Daniel Immerwahr

Assistant Professor
Department of History
Northwestern University
225 Harris Hall
1881 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208


Email: daniel.immerwahr at

Thinking Small cover


I am a scholar of U.S. and global history, specializing in development, empire, and the history of ideas. My first book, Thinking Small (Harvard, 2015), offers a critical account of the United States' pursuit of grassroots development at home and abroad in the middle of the twentieth century. I am now researching another book, How to Hide an Empire, about U.S. overseas territorycolonies, occupation zones, and military basesin the twentieth century. I have written for Dissent and n+1, and my Erdös number is 5.

My last name is pronounced IM-mer-var.

I have taught at UC Berkeley, Columbia, Northwestern, and San Quentin State Prison. At Northwestern, I offer regular lectures on global history, U.S. foreign relations, and U.S. intellectual history. Click here for my syllabi and teaching schedule.

How to Hide an Empire: Geography and Power in the Greater United States (forthcoming 2018)

Thinking Small: The United States and the Lure of Community Development (Harvard, 2015)
Reviews: The Nation, Boston Review
Interviews: Dissent, Toynbee Prize Foundation
"Polanyi in the United States: Peter Drucker, Karl Polanyi, and the Midcentury Critique of Economic Society," Journal of the History of Ideas (2009)
A Japanese translation was published in Gendai shiso (2010)
"The Fact/Narrative Distinction and Student Examinations in History," The History Teacher (2008): click here for preprint.

"Caste or Colony?: Indianizing Race in the United States," Modern Intellectual History (2007)
Reprinted in India in Bheem Patrika as a three-part series, commencing with the June 2012 issue

I wrote a short memo to supplement this research, "On B. R. Ambedkar and Black-Dalit Connections." A Telugu translation of it was published in Bahujana Keratalu, April 2012
"The Politics of Architecture and Urbanism in Postcolonial Lagos, 1960-1986," Journal of African Cultural Studies (2007)

"History and the Sciences," co-authored with Philip Kitcher, in Action, Art, History: Engagements with Arthur Danto, ed. Daniel Herwitz and Michael Kelly (Columbia University Press, 2007)
Reprinted in Explanation in the Special Sciences: The Case of Biology and History, ed. Andreas Hutterman, Oliver Scholz, and Marie I. Kaiser (Springer, 2014)
Reviews and essays
"The Thirty Years' Crisis: Anxiety and Fear in the Midcentury United States, " Modern Intellectual History, forthcoming, review of Mark Greif, The Age of Crisis of Man, and Fred Turner, The Democratic Surround

"Growth vs. the Climate," Dissent, Spring 2015

"What Did You Do in the War, Doctor?: On Social Scientists and Social Change," n+1, March 2015, review of Michal Shapira, The War Inside, and Peter Mandler, Return from the Natives

"Charting the Road to Davos: The Rise and Fall of Internationalism," Dissent, Spring 2013

"Modernization and Development in U.S. Foreign Relations," Passport: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Review, September 2012

"The Foundation Statesmen," n+1, August 2012, review of Inderjeet Parmar, Foundations of the American Century

Other projects

My website, The Books of the Century, lists bestsellers, Book-of-the-Month Club selections, and other notable books for every year of the twentieth century. The New Yorker (well, one of the magazine's blogs) called it "a brilliant blend of aggregation and curation."

I designed a series of grade calculators and rosters that students can use to find and predict their grades and teachers can use to record and calculate course averages.