Konstantin Dierks

Associate Professor, Department of History

Department of History

IU; IU Bloomington

Full Biography

Tentatively entitled Globalization of the United States, 1815-1861, my current book project traces the shift in American understandings of and relationships to the wider world between the American Revolution and the American Civil War.

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.


Honors and Awards

  • Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford (2018-19)
  • Jack and Julia Wickes Fund for the Study of War and Society, History Department, Indiana University (2018)
  • New Frontiers of Creativity and Scholarship grant, Indiana University (2015-2016)

Research Interests

  • Early America / Atlantic World / British Empire
  • Globalization
  • U.S. Foreign Relations
  • Communications and Knowledge
  • Liang Qichao


  • 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).


  • “Americans Overseas in the Early American Republic.” Diplomatic History 42:1 (Jan. 2018): 17-35.  Forum with Nancy Shoemaker, Emily Conroy-Krutz, Rachel Tamar Van, and Courtney Fullilove.
  • "Interchange: Globalization and Its Limits between the American Revolution and the Civil War."  Journal of American History 103:2 (Sep. 2016): 400-433. With Emily Conroy-Krutz, Jay Cook, Ann Fabian, Courtney Fullilove, Amy S. Greenberg, Nicholas Guyatt, Justin Leroy, and Kariann Akemi Yokota.
  • "Mapping History: Reflections on the Globalization of the United States, 1789-1861 Digital Project."  Common-place.org 16:2 (Winter 2016).

Digital History Websites