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Faculty Profile

Matthew Pinsker

Professor of History; Pohanka Chair in American Civil War History (2002)

Contact Information

Denny Hall Room 218


Pinsker teaches courses in U.S. political, legal and diplomatic history. His research focuses on the career of Abraham Lincoln, partisanship in the Civil War era, American constitutionalism, the Underground Railroad and the history of U.S. campaigns and elections.


  • B.A., Harvard University, 1990
  • D.Phil., University of Oxford, 1995

2023-2024 Academic Year

Fall 2023

HIST 118 American Hist 1877 to Present
This course covers aspects of political evolution, foreign policy development, industrialization, urbanization, and the expanding roles of 20th century central government. Includes attention to historical interpretation. Multiple sections offered.

HIST 282 Diplomatic History of the U.S.
Cross-listed with INST 282-01.

INST 282 Diplomatic History of the U.S.
Cross-listed with HIST 282-01.

Spring 2024

HIST 211 US Elections
This upper-level survey course will examine how American campaigns and elections have evolved since the colonial era. Students will learn about revolutionary changes in voting eligibility, major shifts in campaigning practices, including fundraising and advertising, and will study certain pivotal elections and their consequences for American democracy. Course assignments will include exams, multi-media blog posts and traditional research papers.

HIST 288 Civil War - Reconstruction
A study of the political, economic, social, and intellectual aspects of 19th century America from 1848 to 1877. Attention is given to the causes and course of the Civil War and evaluates the results of Reconstruction.

HIST 311 Cold War America
This advanced history topics course will examine how US national security policy evolved during the Cold War from 1945 to 1991, exploring how fears of the Soviets and global communism shaped American attitudes at home and abroad. Students will also focus on some key interpretative debates regarding the legacy of the Cold War era.