Konstantin Dierks

Associate Professor, Department of History

Associate Editor, American Historical Review

Department of History

IU, IU Bloomington

Full Biography

My first book, In My Power: Letter Writing and Communications in Early America, published in 2009, focused on the cultural, social, economic, and political history of letter writing and communications in the early anglophone Atlantic World. Letter writing steeped the white middle class in imperatives of self-improvement and vulnerabilities of personal agency, while assuring them of their social innocence, their technical credentials, and their moral deserving. The force of this social myopia is as critical as racism, I argue, in explaining the glaring dearth of moral conscience underwriting the legalization of massive violence toward Native Americans and African-Americans so endemic to the eighteenth century.

Tentatively entitled Globalization of the United States, 1789-1861, my new book project traces the shift in American understandings of and relationships to the wider world between the American Revolution and the American Civil War.

Honors and Awards

  • New Frontiers of Creativity and Scholarship grant, Indiana University (2015-2016)
  • Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford (2011-12)
  • Visiting Research Fellow, St Anne's College, University of Oxford (2011-12)
  • NEH Summer Institute, "Rethinking America in a Global Perspective" (2008)

Research Interests

  • Early America / Atlantic World / British Empire
  • Geography
  • Globalization
  • Communications and Knowledge


  • Ph.D. at Brown University, 1999

Courses Taught


  • History of American Capitalisms
  • History of American Empire
  • Americans Discover the World


  • Early American History in a Global Context
  • The Geographic as a Category of Historical Analysis



  • In My Power: Letter Writing and Communications in Early America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009)


  • "Interchange: Globalization and Its Limits between the American Revolution and the Civil War."  Journal of American History 103:2 (Sep. 2016): 400-433.
  • "Middle-Class Formation in Eighteenth-Century North America," in Simon Middleton and Billy G. Smith, eds., Class Matters: Early North America and the Atlantic World (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), pp. 99-108.
  • "Letter Writing, Stationary Supplies, and Consumer Modernity in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World." Early American Literature 41, no. 3 (Nov. 2006): 474-494.

Digital History Websites