Christopher Capozzola

Associate Professor of History
617-452-4960
Education: 
A.B. Harvard College
Ph.D. Columbia University, 2002
Photo of Christopher Capozzola

Christopher Capozzola specializes in the political and cultural history of the United States from the late nineteenth century to the present. He graduated from Harvard College and completed his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 2002. At MIT, he teaches courses in political and legal history, war and the military, and the history of international migration. In 2009, he won the James A. and Ruth Levitan Award for excellence in teaching in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. During the 2011-12 academic year, he served as Interim Associate Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

His research interests are in the history of war, politics, and citizenship in modern American history. His first book, Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen (Oxford University Press, 2008), examines the relationship between citizens, voluntary associations, and the federal government during World War I through explorations of military conscription and conscientious objection, homefront voluntarism, regulation of enemy aliens, and the emergence of civil liberties movements. Uncle Sam Wants You was supported by fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Carnegie Scholars Program, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Social Science Research Council. In 2010, it won the Lois P. Rudnick Book Prize of the New England American Studies Association.

Professor Capozzola’s current research project brings together his interests in citizenship, the military, and migration. Brothers of the Pacific: Soldiers, Citizens, and the Philippines from 1898 to the War on Terror is a transnational history of American soldiers in the Philippines and Filipino soldiers in the U.S. in the twentieth century. His research has been supported by the Historical Society of Southern California, the U.S. Army Military History Institute, and the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, where he was a Fellow for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Professor Capozzola is also active in public history. A former junior high school history teacher, he works closely with secondary school instructors and has served as a consultant for the development of Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System test questions in history and civics. He has lectured at museums, libraries, theaters, and historical societies, and has appeared on CSPAN, The History Channel, and History Detectives. From 2011-2014, he will serve as a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians.

He serves on the editorial boards of Law and Social Inquiry and the Law and History Review. He has published articles and essays in American Quarterly, Georgetown Law Journal, Journal of American History, Journal of Women's History, New England Quarterly, and Rethinking History, as well as in popular periodicals including The Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, The Nation, New Labor Forum, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Washington Post.