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Paul Kramer

Associate Professor of History

Expert in modern U. S. history, with an emphasis on transnational histories, American social thought and the politics of inequality.


Paul A. Kramer’s primary research interests are in modern U. S. history, with an emphasis on transnational, imperial and global histories, American social thought, and the politics of inequality. His first book, The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States and the Philippines (University of North Carolina Press; Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2006), explores the imperial politics of race-making between U. S. and Philippine societies in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. It was awarded the Organization of American Historians’ James A. Rawley Prize and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations’ Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize, and was a finalist for the Philippines’ National Book Award in the Social Science category. He is currently writing a methodological book on the transnationalizing of US history, under contact with Oxford University Press, and a book on intersections between immigration policy and US foreign relations.

Media Appearances

  • Who Is Lady Liberty, And What Does She Want?

    Paul Kramer is a professor of history at Vanderbilt University who has written about the symbolism of the Statue of Liberty and how it intersects with views of immigration in US history. Last year, he and Brooke visited Liberty Island and reflected on her different meanings and portrayals in American history. For this week's podcast extra, we're re-airing that segment.

    July 8th, 2020

  • A Very Bitter Joke

    Good riddance, John Bolton! By dismissing his third National Security Advisor, President Trump prompted renewed concern over White House instability. This week, On the Media makes the case that John Bolton’s outster is good news for the republic. Plus, after four decades of progress, domestic abuse is on the rise and Senate Republicans are stymieing the Violence Against Women Act. And, Brooke visits Lady Liberty to learn about the 130-year political war over the meaning of the statue.

    September 13th, 2019

  • ‘Huddled Masses’ in Statue of Liberty Poem Are European, Trump Official Says

    Around that time, Lazarus and many others thought the United States benefited from migrants, or had a moral duty to accept them, said Paul A. Kramer, an associate professor of history at Vanderbilt University. But a rising tide of voices favored exclusion. “The 1880s were a real pivotal moment where you see these very strong pro-immigration approaches colliding with these new nativist and racist approaches,” Dr. Kramer said.

    August 14th, 2019

  • Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Racism Represents an American Tradition

    President Trump has inspired widespread outrage and disgust with his crude, racist disparagement of Haiti, El Salvador and African nations and the predominantly black and brown immigrants from these places.

    January 22nd, 2018

  • History in a Time of Crisis

    In dark times, writing about the past can feel suspiciously like retreat. Donald Trump issues an executive order barring immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries; should I just keep researching the history of America’s treatment of immigrants? One of my graduate advisees emails me, dispirited, from an archive overseas. He’s thinking of changing careers. He doesn’t want to be like one of the Germans who did nothing in 1933. What am I supposed to tell him?

    February 19th, 2017


Ph.D., Princeton University


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