Dr Lorenzo Costaguta

Department of History
Teaching Fellow in U.S. History

Contact details

Arts Building, Room 433
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am an intellectual historian of race, ethnicity and class, with a particular interest on socialism and radicalism in the U.S. and in Western Europe.

Feedback and office hours

  • Autumn Term: Tuesday and Thursday 4-5
  • Spring Term: TBA  


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2018
  • PhD (University of Nottingham) 2016
  • MSc (London School of Economics)  2012
  • MA (University of Turin) 2010
  • BA (University of Turin) 2008 


I joined the University of Birmingham as a Teaching Fellow in U.S. History in September 2017. Prior to that, I received a PhD in American Studies from the University of Nottingham and an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics. I did my undergraduate studies in Italy, my home country.

I am a member of the Executive Committee of the Italian Association of North American Studies and I sit on the Editorial Board of USAbroad: Italian Journal of American History and Politics. 


  • “American Dreamers:” Radicalism in the United States from 1776 to Present
  • The 1960s: “Years of Hope, Days of Rage”
  • The Foundations of the African American Experience since 1776
  • African American Experience since 1945


My research interests include ideas of race and ethnicity, labour history, radicalism and migration studies. My first monograph, under contract with the University of Illinois Press and with an expected publication date of December 2020, places American socialism in a global and transnational dimension, demonstrating how the foreign origin of early American socialists influenced their conception of race and ethnicity, and in turn contributed to shape American debates on progress, civilisation and modernity during the Gilded Age and beyond.

Currently, I am developing a research project on ideas of race in the Second International (1889-1914). The Second International had a fundamental role in favouring the active exchange of ideas among workers across the world. Founded in 1889 as a loose federation of socialist parties and trade unions, it gathered workers coming from Europe, the US, parts of South America, Asia and Africa. While race was rarely discussed as a distinct issue, socialists debated closely aligned notions, such as colonialism, immigration and imperialism. By focusing on a group of countries that actively participated in the International (Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK and the US) and by extending the analysis to their colonies, this project will produce the first study of transnational ideas of race in the global working class.

Other activities

Personal Website: https://lorenzocostagutablog.wordpress.com/

September 2019-ongoing

  • Coordinator of Race: a Work-in-progress Seminar (University of Birmingham)

September 2019-ongoing

  • Member of the Executive Committee of the Italian Association of North American Studies (AISNA).

February 2017-ongoing

  • Assistant Editor at USAbroad – Journal of American History and Politics, the first Italian peer-reviewed journal of American history (https://usabroad.unibo.it/).

March 2015-September 2019 

  • Co-Chair of the AISNA Graduate Forum.  

January 2013-June 2015

  • Articles Editor for 49th Parallel: An Interdisciplinary Journal of North American Studies (University of Birmingham, University of Nottingham) 



  • The Origins of Colorblind Socialism: Race and Class in the American Left, 1876-1899 (Under contract with the University of Illinois Press)

Edited collections

  • L. Costaguta, Steven Parfitt, John Tiplady, Matthew Kidd (eds.), Working Class Nationalism and Internationalism before 1945: Essays in Global Labour History (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018).


  • L. Costaguta, “‘Geographies of Peoples:’ Scientific Racialism and Labor Internationalism in Gilded Age American Socialism.” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 2 (2019).
  • L. Costaguta, V. Pignagnoli, “Teaching American Studies in Europe: Perspectives and New Directions for the Twenty-First Century,” RSA Journal (2018).
  • L. Costaguta, “Social Norms and Legal Rules. A Comparison of the Theories of Friedrich Hayek, Herbert L.A. Hart and John Rawls,” Annali della Fondazione Luigi Einaudi, vol. XLVI-2013, Torino 2013.

Book chapters

  • L. Costaguta, “Marxismo, Identità, Nazione: la Vita e il Pensiero di Daniel De Leon” [Marxism, Identity, Nation: the Life and Thought of Daniel De Leon], in Pierpaolo Poggio (ed.), L'Altronovecento: Comunismo Eretico e Pensiero Critico [The Counter-Twentieth Century: Heretical Communism and Critical Thought] (Milano: Jaca Book 2013).

Book reviews

  • Jefferson Cowie, The Great Exception: The New Deal and the Limits of American Politics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016), in Storia del Pensiero Politico (2017, forthcoming).
  • Daniel Di Salvo, Government Against Itself: Public Union Power and Its Consequences (New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), in Ricerche di Storia Politica 1 (2017).
  • David Roediger, Seizing Freedom: Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All (London: Verso, 2014), in Journal of American Studies 50 (2016), 261-263.
  • Dennis Brennan, The Making of an Abolitionist: William Lloyd Garrison’s Path to Publishing The Liberator (Jefferson: McFarland, 2014), in H-Net Socialisms (August, 2015).
  • Allison Clark Efford, German Immigrants, Race, and Citizenship in the Civil War Era (Washington D.C.; Cambridge: German Historical Institute: Cambridge University Press, 2013), in 49th Parallel: An Interdisciplinary Journal of North American Studies 35 (2015), 84-86.