Dr John Munro

Dr John Munro

Department of History
Lecturer in United States History

Contact details

Arts Building, 439a
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

My research looks at what the history of the United States tells us about racial capitalism, colonialism, social movements, and intellectual production in a transnational frame.


  • PhD (University of California, Santa Barbara)
  • MA (Simon Fraser University)
  • BA (Simon Fraser University)


I joined the University of Birmingham in 2019. I have previously taught in the History Department at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada, and have held fellowships at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University, and, through the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, at the American Studies Institute at the University of Rostock.


  • United States Survey
  • The United States and the World
  • Indigenous and Settler Histories
  • North America in Crisis

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome postgraduate interest in US empire, African American history, social movements, and the cold war.

Find out more - our PhD History  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


I have published articles and book chapters on the knowledge production of social movements, the intersectional aspects of US empire, as well as race and US imperial culture. My first book, The Anticolonial Front: The African American Freedom Movement and Global Decolonization, 1945-1960, which was a finalist for the African American Intellectual History Society’s 2018 Pauli Murray Prize, took up the topics of anticommunism, the continuities of colonialism, the intricacies of popular front politics, and the limitations of liberalism.

More recently, I am editor of a forthcoming collection of essays entitled Reading the Postwar Future: Textual Turning Points from 1944, which ranges across history, literature, film, and philosophy to consider a diverse array of texts that were produced within one fateful year and which sought to shape the postwar order. I am also working on a new project that examines the consolidation of the idea of US empire amid the decline of the idea of the cold war.

Other activities



  • The Anticolonial Front: The African American Freedom Struggle and Global Decolonization, 1945-1960, “Critical Perspectives on Empire” series, Cambridge University Press, 2017. Finalist, 2018 Pauli Murray Book Prize in Black Intellectual History, African American Intellectual History Society.
  • Reading the Postwar Future: Textual Turning Points from 1944, Edited with Kirrily Freeman, Bloomsbury Academic, Forthcoming 2019.


  • “Imperial Anticommunism and the African American Freedom Movement in the Early Cold War,” History Workshop Journal 79 (April 2015): 52-75.
  • “Interwoven Colonial Histories: Indigenous Agency and Academic Historiography in North America,” Canadian Review of American Studies 44, no. 1 (Fall 2014): 402-425.
  • “US Foreign Policy, Intersectional Totality, and the Structure of Empire,” Third World Quarterly 35, no. 9 (2014): 1566-1581.
  • “Reframing Black Internationalism and Civil Rights during the Cold War,” Journal of American Studies of Turkey (Special Issue on African American Studies) 29 (Spring 2009): 63-78, with co-author Ian Rocksborough-Smith.
  • “Empire and Intersectionality: Notes on the Production of Knowledge about US Imperialism,” Globality Studies Journal 12 (18 November 2008): 1-47.
  • “Roots of ‘Whiteness’,” Labour / Le Travail 54 (Fall 2004): 175-192.
  • “Ethiopia Stretches Forth Across the Atlantic: African American Anticolonialism during the Interwar Period,” Left History 13, no. 2 (Spring/Summer 2009): 37-63.


  • ‘“As Its Foundations Totter’: International Imperialism, Gendered Racial Capitalism, and the US Literary Left in the Early Cold War,” in The Material of World History, eds. Tina Chen and David Churchill (New York: Routledge, 2015): 72-88.
  • “Class Struggle and Self-Determination at Political Affairs: An Intellectual History of Communist Anticolonialism in the United States, 1945-1960,” in Decolonization and the Cold War: Negotiating Independence, eds. Leslie James and Elisabeth Leake (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015): 87-105.

Other Writing:

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