Christopher Capozzola

Associate Professor of History


A.B. Harvard College
Ph.D. Columbia University, 2002

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. He is a past winner of the Levitan Teaching Award, and in 2015-16 will serve as the Secretary of the Faculty.

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. In 2010, Uncle Sam Wants You 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 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 Heritage and Education Center, and the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. A portion of this project won the 2014 Cold War Essay Prize given by the John Adams Center at the Virginia Military Institute.

Professor Capozzola is also active in public history. He is Co-Curator of "The Volunteers: Americans Join World War I. 1914-1919," a historical exhibition commemorating the centennial of America's First World War, and has also worked as an Associate Curator for "Palaces for the People: Guastavino and America's Great Public Spaces."   Since 2011, he has been a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians and he has lectured at museums, libraries, theaters, and historical societies, and has appeared on CSPAN, The History Channel, and History Detectives.  A former middle school history teacher, he works closely with secondary school instructors and serves on the Development Committee for the College Board Advanced Placement Program exam in U.S. History.

He serves on the editorial board of the Law and History Review and the advisory board of the Oxford Reference Encyclopedia in American History and has published articles and essays in American Quarterly, Diplomatic History, Georgetown Law Journal, Journal of American History, Journal of Women's History and New England Quarterly, as well as in popular periodicals including The Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, The Nation, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Politico, and the Washington Post.