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Meet Mike Morgan, one of the newest members of the Global Studies Curriculum faculty!


The Details

Hometown: Toronto, Canada

Degrees: BA in International Relations and History from the University of Toronto, MPhil in International Relations from the University of Cambridge, and PhD in History from Yale University

Academic Interests

The focus of my research and teaching is the history of international affairs, especially the history of the Cold War.  I’m particularly interested in the intersection of ideas and action, and the different ways that governments have understood the meaning of human rights and worked to defend them.  My main research project at the moment examines the origins of the Helsinki Final Act, a 1975 diplomatic agreement that changed the direction of the Cold War.


Before coming to UNC, I served as assistant professor of strategy at the US Naval War College and as assistant professor of history at my alma mater, the University of Toronto, where I also directed a freshman seminar program.

There are few things more important than studying the past because it helps us understand why things are the way they are.  As a result, historians have a responsibility to engage with the broader public not just to make the case for the importance of history but to explain why we can’t grasp the way the world works today without knowing how it worked decades or centuries ago.  My future research will focus on the historical roots of human rights and humanitarian intervention, two ideas that are now much in the news.

Life at UNC

UNC’s mission as a public university is vitally important and gives real meaning to our work as teachers and scholars.  But I’ve also been struck by the sense of community on campus.  My wife and I couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome or for better colleagues.

Tell us more!

A few other passions: Canadian music, anything by Tom Stoppard, and pickup basketball.