Dr. John Dunn

Dunn Pic Assistant Professor John Dunn is a historian of modern Europe, specializing in France and the French Empire. He received his B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of Richmond and his Ph.D. in History from Emory University. At MSU, he is responsible for teaching the Capstone courses (SSC 499) for the Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science (IDS) and the Global and International Studies (GLIS) Majors. He also occasionally teaches courses in both the History Department and in Integrative Studies in Social Science (ISS) program. Prior to his arrival at Michigan State, Professor Dunn taught courses at Emory University, Clark Atlanta University, and Clayton State University.

Professor Dunn’s research is an outgrowth of his love for students and teaching, and of his interest in how and what students learn. His research examines the ways the French state used the educational system to reconstruct French national identity as the colonial empire slipped away after World War II. He tries to understand this process by analyzing history curricula in French schools. He argues earlier narratives that persuaded pupils to see themselves as imperial citizens were replaced by new stories that tried to resurrect French grandeur in new ways.

In 2019, he received the Teaching Excellence Award from the MSU College of Social Science. While at Emory, he received an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Graduate Teaching Fellowship and the Joseph J. Mathews Fellowship. He has been part of a number of University teaching initiatives bridging multiple MSU units and programs, including the Common Intellectual Experience initiative led by the Provost’s Office and an initiative funded by the Teagle Foundation.


  • Contemporary France
  • Imperialism and decolonization
  • Historical memory
  • European multiculturalism (especially concerning Islam and people of color)
  • History pedagogy and student-centered pedagogical reform


  • Department of History