Department of History

Konstantin Dierks

  • Associate Professor, Department of History


  • Ph.D. at Brown University, 1999

Contact Information

Ballantine Hall, Rm. 734
(812) 855-6288


Konstantin Dierks

My first book, In My Power: Letter Writing and Communications in Early America, published in 2009, focused on the cultural, social, economic, and political history of letter writing and communications in the early anglophone Atlantic World. Letter writing steeped the white middle class in imperatives of self-improvement and vulnerabilities of personal agency, while assuring them of their social innocence, their technical credentials, and their moral deserving. The force of this social myopia is as critical as racism, I argue, in explaining the glaring dearth of moral conscience underwriting the legalization of massive violence toward Native Americans and African-Americans so endemic to the eighteenth century.

Tentatively entitled American Global Imaginaries, 1670-1870, my new book project traces the shift in American geographical understandings of the wider world across the transformation of colonial into post-revolutionary America.

Selected Awards

  • Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford (2011-12)
  • Visiting Research Fellow, St Anne's College, University of Oxford (2011-12)
  • NEH Summer Institute, "Rethinking America in a Global Perspective" (2008)

Research Interests

  • Early America / Atlantic World / British Empire
  • Geography
  • Globalization
  • Communications and Knowledge

Courses Recently Taught


  • Americans Discover the World
  • Observing Early Modern America


  • Early American History in a Global Context
  • The Geographic as a Category of Historical Analysis

Publication Highlights


In My Power: Letter Writing and Communications in Early America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009)


"Franklin and Colonial Society," in A Companion to Benjamin Franklin, David Waldstreicher, ed. (Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), pp. 83-103.

"Middle-Class Formation in Eighteenth-Century North America," in Simon Middleton and Billy G. Smith, eds., Class Matters: Early North America and the Atlantic World (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), pp. 99-108.

"Letter Writing, Stationary Supplies, and Consumer Modernity in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World." Early American Literature 41, no. 3 (Nov. 2006): 474-494.