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Robert K. Brigham Professor of History on the Shirley Ecker Boskey Chair

Robert K. Brigham, Shirley Ecker Boskey Professor of History and International Relations, joined the Vassar faculty in 1994. He is a specialist on the history of US foreign policy, particularly the Vietnam War. Along with several teaching awards, he has also earned fellowships from the Rockefeller, Mellon, Ford, and Smith Richardson foundations as well as the National Endowment for Humanities. In addition, Brigham has been Albert Shaw Endowed Lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, Mellon Senior Visiting Scholar at Cambridge University (Clare College), visiting professor of international relations at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, summer seminar faculty at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and Mary Ball Washington Professor of American History (Fulbright) at University College Dublin. He currently directs the Vassar-West Point Program.

Brigham is author or co-author of nine books, among them Reckless: Henry Kissinger and the Tragedy of Vietnam (PublicAffairs, 2018); Iraq, Vietnam, and the Limits of American Power (PublicAffairs, 2008); Argument Without End: In Search of Answers to the Vietnam Tragedy(PublicAffairs, 1999), written with former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and James G. Blight of Brown University; and Guerilla Diplomacy: The NLF’s Foreign Relations and the Vietnam War (Cornell, 1998).

Brigham’s father served with the 3rd Marine Division as a combat photographer in Vietnam, earning a Purple Heart at the Battle for Hue during the Tet Offensive.


  • BA, The College at Brockport; MA, University of Rhode Island; PhD, University of Kentucky, Lexington
  • At Vassar since 1994


Research and Academic Interests

  • US Foreign Policy
  • Vietnam War

Departments and Programs


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Photo: Sean Hemmerle