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Dr. Nicole  Sackley
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

ACLS Fellowship, American Council for Learned Societies, New York, NY, 2021-2022

Summer Stipend Award, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2021

Mednick Memorial Fellowship, Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, 2020

Grants to Scholars, UW Madison Libraries, Madison, WI, 2020   

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

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

Ph.D., Princeton University
M.A., Princeton University
A.B., Brown University
Contact Information
310 Humanities Building
(804) 289-8338
Areas of Expertise
United States and the World
U.S. Cultural and Intellectual History