Christopher McKnight Nichols | Director

Nichols has been director of the Center for the Humanities since January 2017. He specializes in the history of the United States and its relationship to the rest of the world, particularly in the areas of isolationism, internationalism, and globalization. In addition, he is an expert on modern U.S. intellectual, cultural, and political history, with an emphasis on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (1880-1920) through the present. Nichols also has worked extensively on religion in U.S. history and the intersection of religion and foreign relations. In 2016, he was awarded an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, and in 2017, he became an Organization of American Historians (OAH) Distinguished Lecturer. This spring, at TEDx Portland, Nichols presented his talk, “The Untold Story of American Isolationism (a.k.a. Why History Matters Today)."    

Nichols studied at Harvard College, Wesleyan University, and the University of Virginia, where he received his M.A. and Ph.D. in History. Before coming to OSU Nichols was Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the History Department at the University of Pennsylvania and Postdoctoral Fellow in U.S. History at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia.

In 2014, he launched the OSU Citizenship and Crisis Initiative with an emphasis on issues at the intersection of citizenship, crisis, politics, international relations, civics, and engaged democracy, along with the centenary of World War I. Since early 2017 he has served on the editorial board of the “Made by History” section of the Washington Post. He is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Oregon Historical Society, and is a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations

Joy Jensen | Research Program Coordinator

Jensen joined the Center for the Humanities in 2013. She manages the Center's programs, communications, budget and facilities, and organizes events, lectures, and exhibits at the Autzen House. Originally from the Commonwealth of Kentucky, she studied at Centre College in Danville, KY and The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. Jensen is a certified Oregon Master Naturalist, and interests of note include attending to ecological priorities, good sentences, birds, and the game of American football. 


In the stack: 
Hawks from Every Angle (Jerry Liguori)
Whiskey When We’re Dry (John Larison)
Horizon (Barry Lopez)
Audubon: The Kentucky Years (LC Keating)

Danielle Holtz | Postdoctoral Fellow

Danielle Holtz is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the OSU Center for the Humanities, affiliated with the Citizenship and Crisis Initiative. As a historian of conservatism, racial nationalism, and US political culture and foreign policy, Dr. Holtz is interested in tracing partisan politics and their socio-cultural implications in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She is currently working on a book manuscript about racial nationalism and American politics based on her dissertation, “’Who Are the True Conservatives?’: A Critical History of American Conservatism in the Nineteenth Century.” She received her PhD in History from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. She also served as the assistant editor for the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Military and Diplomatic History, published in 2013, contributing articles on “Thomas Paine,” “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” and the “United States Strategic Bombing Survey.”

Nick Snider | Graduate Research Assistant

David Robinson | Director Emeritus