Carnegie Mellon University

Nico Slate

Nico Slate

Professor of History and Department Head

Bio

Nico Slate’s research and teaching focus on the history of social movements in the United States and India. He is the author of four books: Lord Cornwallis Is Dead: The Struggle for Democracy in the United States and India (Harvard University Press in 2019); Gandhi’s Search for the Perfect Diet: Eating with the World in Mind (University of Washington Press, 2019); The Prism of Race: W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson and the Colored World of Cedric Dover (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014); and Colored Cosmopolitanism: The Shared Struggle for Freedom in the United States and India (Harvard University Press, 2012). He is also the editor of Black Power Beyond Borders (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013), a volume that tracks the global dimensions of the Black Power movement.
 
Dr. Slate is currently at work on four books and two edited volumes. Brothers: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Race (under contract with Temple University Press) examines the history of race and racism in Los Angeles since 1965—through the lens of the life and death of Dr. Slate’s older brother, a musician and aspiring screenwriter, who was born Uderulu Osakwe and was also known as Peter Slate and XL the 1I. The Art of Freedom: Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay and the Making of Modern India (under contract with Penguin Random House India) narrates the life and work of one of India’s most dedicated antiracist activists, a key figure in India’s anticolonial struggle, a prominent advocate of women’s rights, a founding member of colonial India’s most important socialist party, and one of the most influential supporters of the arts in post-independence India. A Peculiar Lucidity: Surviving the 1918 Pandemic offers a collective biography of seven people who survived the 1918-19 influenza pandemic: an American writer, a British statesman, an Indian freedom fighter, a Norwegian painter, an American artist, a Bohemian writer, and a Canadian actress. Truth and Power: The Highlander Folk School and the Radical Civil Rights Movement provides a grassroots intellectual history of the struggle against American racism, a history grounded in some 100 hours of audio recordings of civil rights workshops conducted at an integrated educational institution in the hills of Tennessee. In addition to these four books, Dr. Slate is currently co-editing two volumes that approach the transnational history of South Asia from different vantage points. With Professor Rajeshwari Dutt of the Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi, he is co-editing a volume entitled India in the World: 1500-Present, which is currently under review at Routledge. With Professor Harald Fischer-Tiné of ETH Zurich, he is co-editing a volume entitled Indo-US Entanglements: The United States and South Asia from the Age of Empire to Decolonisation, which is currently under contract with Leiden University Press.

Dr. Slate is the director of the Bajaj Rural Development Lab and SocialChange101.org, and the faculty director of LEAP, a program for high school students who are passionate about the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Born in Los Angeles and raised in California's Mojave Desert, he earned degrees in Earth Systems and the Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities from Stanford University and in Environmental Change and Management from Oxford University before completing his Ph.D. in History at Harvard University.

To read more about Nico Slate, please visit his personal website.

Education

Ph.D.: Harvard University, 2009

Publications

  • Lord Cornwallis Is Dead: The Struggle for Democracy in the United States and India (Harvard University Press, 2019)
  • Gandhi’s Search for the Perfect Diet: Eating with the World in Mind (University of Washington Press, 2019)
  • Colored Cosmopolitanism: The Shared Struggle for Freedom in the United States and India (Harvard University Press, 2012)
  • Black Power Beyond Borders, an edited volume (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
  • The Prism of Race: W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson and the Colored World of Cedric Dover (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
  • “The Radical Civil Rights Movement: The Highlander Folk School and the Legacies of the Left in Cold War America,” forthcoming in Past & Present
  • “Grassroots Globalism: The Highlander Folk School, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Geography of Nonviolence,” forthcoming in the American Historical Review

  • “Between Utopia and Jim Crow: The Highlander Folk School, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Racial Borders of the Summer Camp, 1956-1961,” forthcoming in the Journal of American History
  • “‘The Answers Come From The People’: The Highlander Folk School and the Pedagogies of the Civil Rights Movement,” forthcoming in History of Education Quarterly
  • “Voting as Theatre: Race, Suffrage, and the Staging of the Civil Rights Movement,” forthcoming in The Journal of African American History
  • “Debating Disadvantage: Self-Concept, The Civil Rights Movement, and Pre-College Programmes in the United States in the 1960s,” forthcoming in History of Education
  • “The Drama of Nonviolence: Theatre as Education within the American Civil Rights Movement,” forthcoming in Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance
  • “Beauty and Power: Beauticians, the Highlander Folk School, and Women’s Professional Networks in the Civil Rights Movement,” Journal of Social History 55, no. 3 (2022): 744-768
  • “A Dangerous Idea: Nonviolence as Tactic and Philosophy,” Modern Intellectual History 18, no. 4 (December 2021): 1130–1154
  • “From Mealie Pap to Peanut Milk: The African Diaspora, Culinary Cosmopolitanism, and Mahatma Gandhi’s Evolving Views on Race and Diet,”Global Food History, forthcoming.
  • “Beyond the Mountain Top: Human Rights, Colored Cosmopolitanism, and the African American Freedom Struggle,” Journal of Civil and Human Rights 1, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2015)
  • “East Indian, West Indian: Colored Cosmopolitanism, World Literature, and the Dual Autobiography of Cedric Dover and Claude McKay,” Modern Language Quarterly 76, no. 3 (September 2015)
  • “Race as Freedom: How Cedric Dover and Barack Obama Became Black,” Racial and Ethnic Studies 35 (2012): 1-19.
  • "Do Revolutions Needs Passports? From Gandhi to King to the Arab Spring," Berfrois (January 19, 2012)"
  • Glorious Burdens: Teaching Obama’s History and the Long Civil Rights Movement,” The History Teacher 44, no. 4 (August 2011): 591-600.
  • “Translating Race and Caste,” The Journal of Historical Sociology 24, no. 1 (March 2011): 62-79.
  • “A Coloured Cosmopolitanism: Cedric Dover’s Reading of the Afro-Asian World,” in Sugata Bose and Kris Manjapra, editors. Cosmopolitan Thought Zones: South Asia and the Global Circulation of Ideas (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).
  • “‘I am a coloured woman’: Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya in the United States, 1939-41,” Contemporary South Asia 17, no. 1 (March 2009): 7-19.

Courses Taught

  • Barack Obama and the History of Race in America
  • India/America: Democracy, Diversity, Development
  • Gandhi and King: Nonviolent Leadership in a Globalized World
  • The Civil Rights Movement and the World
  • Sustainable Social Change: History and Practice
  • India Today: Economics, Technology, and People
  • India in the World: A History of Globalization
  • Innovation and Social Change

Department Member Since: 2009