Nick Cullather is a historian of United States foreign relations, specializing in the history of intelligence, development, and nation-building. He investigates the United States' uses of aid, covert operations, diet, statistics, and technology to reconstruct social reality in countries around the world. His book, The Hungry World (2010), explores the use of food as a tool of psychological warfare and regime change during the Cold War. The Hungry World won the Ellis Hawley Prize for economic history, the Robert Ferrell Prize in diplomatic history, and was shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize for the best book on a global policy issue. Illusions of Influence (1994), described the process through which a former American colony negotiated its conditional independence. In the 1950s, the Central Intelligence Agency developed a capacity to replace unsuitable governments, elected or otherwise, as I show in Secret History (2006).

Cullather’s current research examines the information revolution of the middle years of the twentieth century, which saw the emergence of information science, the first databases, and the Central Intelligence Agency.  The very concept of "central intelligence" separated facts from authorship and perspective and reshaped the process of foreign policy decision-making. This transformation pre-dated the advent of computers but had equally far-reaching consequences.

Cullather has won Fulbright grants to Austria, the Philippines, and Singapore.

Honors and Awards

  • OAH Distinguished Lecturer
  • Co-Editor, Diplomatic History
  • Fulbright Fellow to Austria, the Philippines, and Singapore.

Research Interests

  • Diplomatic history
  • Modernization theory
  • U.S.-Asian relations
  • Intelligence


  • A.B. at Indiana University, 1981
  • Ph.D. at University of Virginia, 1993

Courses Taught

  • "America's Nations": The military occupations of the United States
  • The Vietnam War
  • World War II
  • US Foreign Relations in the Twentieth Century
  • American Century Lives: The Twentieth Century in Biography