Thomas A. Guglielmo

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Thomas A. Guglielmo

Department Chair; Professor of American Studies


Office Phone: (202) 994-3170
2108 G Street, Room 102

Thomas A. Guglielmo is Professor of American Studies and History at George Washington University, where he also chairs the Department of American Studies. Professor Guglielmo’s teaching and research interests include race and ethnic studies, immigration, and twentieth-century U.S. social, cultural, political, and military history. He is the author of White on Arrival: Italians, Race, Color, and Power in Chicago, 1890-1945 (Oxford University Press, 2003) and Divisions: A New History of Racism and Resistance in America’s World War II Military (Oxford University Press, 2021). His articles have appeared in the Journal of American History, the American Journal of Sociology, the Journal of American Ethnic History, and others. Guglielmo has written for the Washington Post,, and other popular outlets. He has been a fellow at Stanford University’s Research Institute for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity and by Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. He currently serves as an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer. Before joining the faculty at GW, he was an assistant professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame.


Race and ethnicity, civil rights, immigration, social and political history

Professor Guglielmo's most recent book, Divisions: A New History of Racism and Resistance in America’s World War II Military (Oxford University Press, 2021), won the Society for Military History's Distinguished Book Award and was a finalist for the Gilder Lehrman Military History Prize. The book challenges popular notions about America’s World War II military unifying a famously fractious American people. Drawing from years of extensive research and stitching together stories long told separately -- of race and the military; of high command and ordinary GIs; and of African Americans, white Americans, Japanese Americans, and more -- Guglielmo stresses not national unities but racist divisions as a defining feature of America’s World War II military and of the postwar world it helped to fashion.

His first book, White on Arrival: Italians, Race, Color, and Power in Chicago, 1890-1945 (Oxford University Press, 2003), received the Frederick Jackson Turner Award from the Organization of American Historians and the Allan Nevins Prize from the Society of American Historians. The book examined, most broadly, how Italian immigrants came to see themselves -- and, crucially, to be seen by others -- as white Americans and the many advantages that came with that socially-defined status.

Modern US Immigration (undergraduate lecture)

World War II in History and Memory (undergraduate lecture/discussion)

Race & Racism in US History (undergraduate and graduate seminars)

Civil Rights Movements (undergraduate and graduate seminars)

The US State: History & Theory (graduate seminar)

American Social Movements (graduate seminar)

The United States and the World (graduate seminar)


Divisions: A New History of Racism and Resistance in America’s World War II Military. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021

White on Arrival: Italians, Race, Color, and Power in Chicago, 1890-1945. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Articles and Chapters:

“A Martial Freedom Movement: Black GIs’ Political Struggles during World War II,” Journal of American History 104 (March 2018): 879-903. 

“Defining America’s Racial Boundaries: Blacks, Mexicans, and European Immigrants, 1890-1945,” (co-authored with Cybelle Fox). American Journal of Sociology 118 (September 2012): 327-379

“’Red Cross, Double Cross’: Race and America’s World War II-Era Blood Donor Service.” Journal of American History 97 (June 2010): 63-90.

“Fighting for Caucasian Rights: Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and the Transnational Struggle for Civil Rights in World War II Texas.” Journal of American History 92 (March 2006): 1212-1237.

“Encountering the Color Line in the Everyday: Italians in Interwar Chicago.” Journal of American Ethnic History 23 (Summer 2004): 45-77.

Republished in Race and Immigration in the United States: New Histories, edited by Paul Spickard, 148-177. London: Routledge, 2011.

Republished in Reconstructing Italians in Chicago: Thirty Authors in Search of Roots and Branches, edited by Dominic Candeloro, 81-112. Stone Park, IL: Italian Cultural Center/Casa Italia, 2011.

“Rethinking U.S. Whiteness Historiography.” In Whiteout: The Continuing Significance of Racism, edited by Ashley Doane and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, 49-61. New York: Routledge, 2003.

“‘No Color Barrier’: Italians, Race, and Power in the United States.” In Are Italians White?: How Race Is Made in America, edited by Jennifer Guglielmo and Salvatore Salerno, 29-43. New York: Routledge, 2003.

“The Changing Meaning of Difference: Race, Color, and Ethnicity in America, 1930-1964,” (co-authored with Earl Lewis). In Race and Ethnicity in America: A Concise History, edited by Ronald H. Bayor, 167-192. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

“Toward Essentialism, Toward Difference: Gino Speranza and Conceptions of Race and Italian-American Racial Identity, 1900-1925.” Mid-America 81 (Summer 1999): 169-213.

Selected General Interest Essays, Lectures, and Podcasts:

"The African American Experience in the US Armed Forces," roundtable discussion, the Truman Civil Rights Symposium, July 27, 2023

"Racism in the Military during World War II," TCU Keynote Address on C-Span, March 2, 2023

"Ep. 78 – Divisions: A New History of Racism and Resistance in America’s World War II Military," Race and Democracy, June 2022

"Memorial Day is moment to grapple with hard truths about the military,", May 27, 2022. 

"A Martial Freedom Movement: Black G.I.s' Political Struggles during World War II" , Journal of American History, March 2018. 

"Desegregating blood: a civil rights struggle to remember,", February 11, 2018. (Also published by, The Conversation, The Week, etc.)

"Keywords in Modernity: Race", The Potomac Center for the Study of Modernity, August 2017

"Affirmative action for immigrant whites," Oxford University Press Blog, March 27, 2015.

“What I Know about Racial Preferences,” The Observer, February 8, 2004.

PhD, University of Michigan, 2000

MA, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1996

BA, Tufts University, 1991

Research Institute for the Comparative Study of Race & Ethnicity, Stanford University, 2005-2006

Charles Warren Center, Harvard University, 2008-2009

Columbian College Facilitating Fund, 2015

CCAS Dean's Research Chair, 2018