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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. Brigham is author or co-author of nine books, among them Reckless: Henry Kissinger and the Tragedy of Vietnam (PublicAffairs, 2018); American Foreign Relations: A History, Volumes I & II, 8th Edition (Cengage, 2015), written with Tom Paterson, J. Garry Clifford, Michael Donoghue, and Kenneth Hagan; Iraq, Vietnam, and the Limits of American Power (PublicAffairs, 2008); and 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. 

Brigham has earned research 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. Brigham also directs the Vassar-West Point Initiative.

In 2019, the Alumnae/i Association of Vassar College presented Brigham with its Outstanding Faculty Award. He has won similar teaching awards from Southern Vermont College (1986-87), the University of Kentucky (1993), and Semester at Sea (2014).


  • 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


  • HIST 179. Climate Change and International Security
  • HIST/INTL 235. Ending Deadly Conflict
  • HIST 300. Thesis Preparation: Sources, Methods, and Interpretations

In the Media


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Photo: Sean Hemmerle