UCL Institute of the Americas


Nick Witham

Nick Witham image

Dr Nick Witham

Associate Professor of United States History

Programme Director and Admissions Tutor, BA History and Politics of the Americas

Chair, Undergraduate Board of Examiners


Nick is a historian of the twentieth-century United States. He joined the UCL Institute of the Americas in 2015 and is currently the Programme Director and Admissions Tutor for the Institute’s undergraduate degree programme, the BA History and Politics of the Americas.

Before arriving at UCL, Nick worked from 2012 to 2015 as Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer in American History at Canterbury Christ Church University. He completed his PhD in American Studies at the University of Nottingham in 2012, and his BA in History and Politics at the University of Warwick in 2007, during which time he was a Cornell London Club Scholar at Cornell University.

Nick is Co-Editor of the Journal of American Studies. His leadership in learning and teaching has been recognized by a Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and has served on the steering committee of HOTCUS (Historians of the Twentieth Century United States), and the executive committee of BAAS (British Association for American Studies). With colleagues at King’s College London and the British Library, he co-organized EBAAS 2018, the largest American Studies conference ever to take place in Europe.

Nick’s research has been funded by the British Academy, the Fulbright Commission, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Association for American Studies, and the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh.

Research interests

Nick’s interests span post-1945 US political and intellectual history in transnational perspective, encompassing the histories of protest, imperialism and anti-imperialism, historiography, and memory.

Nick’s first book, The Cultural Left and the Reagan Era: U.S. Protest and Central American Revolution (I.B. Tauris, 2015), won the British Association for American Studies Arthur Miller Prize. He is also the co-editor of Reframing 1968: American Politics, Protest and Identity (Edinburgh University Press, 2018).

Nick’s current book-length project is provisionally entitled The Popular Historians: American Historical Writing and the Search for an Audience, 1945-present, and is under advanced contract with the University of Chicago Press. It examines popular histories written by US historians as a means of engaging with audiences beyond the academy, and focuses on the work of Richard Hofstadter, John Hope Franklin, Daniel Boorstin, Howard Zinn and Gerda Lerner. An article on Richard Hofstadter drawn from this project and published in the Historical Journal won the 2017 Society for US Intellectual History Dorothy Ross Prize.

Teaching Summary


HIST00208: The Making of Modern America: The United States since 1920

Post Graduate Taught:

AMER0023: Confronting the Colossus: Power, Protest and United States Foreign Relations, 1945-present

Research Supervision:

Nick would like to hear from prospective students looking to pursue graduate study in twentieth-century U.S. political, cultural and intellectual history, the history of protest and radicalism, historical and political filmmaking, and historiography and memory studies.

Current PhD Students:
Josephine Harmon, “Ideology, Mass Psychology and Suburban Gun Culture in the US from 1980-1995” (first supervisor)

Elliot Askew, “Institutions v. the Individual: The Intellectual Response to the Entrenchment of Neoliberalism during the 1980s” (first supervisor)

Josh Hollands, “Work and Sexuality in the Sunbelt: Homophobic Workplace Discrimination in the US South and Southwest, 1970 to the present” (second supervisor)

Sharon Betts, “Political Wives to Political Lives: The Evolution of Women in American Politics on Screen” (second supervisor)