James Sparrow


(773) 834-1271

My research and teaching focus on the state and social citizenship in the modern United States. I am especially interested in national political culture and its formation within specific social, cultural, and institutional contexts. My first book,Warfare State, is a history of the social politics of the national state as its foundations shifted from welfare to warfare during World War II. Its central concern is to examine the ways in which different groups of citizens encountered the burgeoning warfare state and in the process accepted, rejected, or otherwise contested the legitimacy of expanding federal authority in everyday life. My second book project, “The New Leviathan,” examines changing notions and practices of sovereignty during the Unites States’ rise to globalism. Blending political and intellectual history with social and cultural methodology, it traces the shifting intersections of international and national, global and local levels of power, to explain the modalities of rule at home and abroad that resulted from a world politics rigidified by bipolar nuclear contention.

Publications include:

  • Warfare State: World War II Americans and the Age of Big Government. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • The New Leviathan: Sovereign America and the Foundations of Rule in the Atomic Age (In progress).