Dr. Nicole Sackley

Associate Professor of History and American Studies


As an historian of the United States and the World, I follow people and ideas across national borders and focus on how Americans negotiated and reshaped their own visions through their experiences abroad.  My past research has examined how US social scientific categories and models of modernization—from “culture” and “economy” to “the village”—were  made on the ground in the ferment of transnational intellectual networks and postcolonial politics, particularly those of Nehru’s India.

Current research interests include the history of international development and global philanthropic foundations, intellectual and cultural histories of capitalism, and the role of US citizen and experts as international actors in the twentieth century.

My book project in progress, “Co-op Capitalism,” examines an important but unknown history of Americans who debated the nature of  US capitalism and furthered their own economic development dreams through international cooperative ventures. During the Cold War, cooperatives appealed as a malleable “middle way,” neither corporate nor communist, that could be mobilized for competing development agendas. Underneath the banner of cooperation lay important divisions about the scale of economic institutions, the proper role of the state, and the balance of profit, democratic voice, and equity. “Co-op Capitalism” inserts new actors, new ideologies, new hopes, and new failures into the scholarly understanding of how Americans participated in international development and how development visions came home to shape US culture and society.

Grants and Fellowships

Truman-Kauffman Fellowship, Harry S. Truman Library Institute, 2012-2013

 Rockefeller Archive Center Research Grant, 2019



Foundation in the Field: The Ford Foundation New Delhi Office and the Construction of Development Knowledge, 1951-1970” in John Krige and Helke Rausch, eds. American Foundations and the Coproduction of World Order in the Twentieth Century. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012: 232-260.

“Developmental Assistance” in Akira Iriye and Pierre-Yves Saunier, eds., Palgrave Dictionary of Transnational History. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009: 267-271.

Additional Publications

"Roundtable: New Narratives of the Green Revolution,” Agricultural History 91, 3 (2017), 397-422

"Writing Regionalism into the History of Modernization: A Review of Nathan Citino’s Envisioning the Arab Future,” H-Dipl Roundtable Review 19 (2017): 13-19 

The Power Elite,” Reviews in American History 42, 1 (March 2014): 121-126.

Narratives of Development: Models, Spectacles, and Calculability in Nick Cullather’s The Hungry World,” H-Diplo Roundtable Review, 13, 5 (2011): 23-8.


Ph.D., Princeton University

M.A., Princeton University

A.B., Brown University

Contact Information

306 INTC
(804) 289-8338

Areas of Expertise

United States and the World
U.S. Cultural and Intellectual History