Robert B Nichols

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Political Science .
1431 SocSci

267 19th Ave S

Robert Nichols is Associate Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. His areas of research specialization include contemporary political theory (esp. Critical Theory); the history of political thought (esp. pertaining to imperialism and colonialism in the 19th century); and the contemporary politics of settler colonialism and indigeneity in the Anglo-American world. Before joining the University of Minnesota, Professor Nichols was Alexander von Humboldt Faculty Research Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. He has also held academic posts at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (France), the University of Alberta (Canada), University of Cambridge (UK), and Columbia University (USA). He is the recipient of grants and awards from the Fulbright, Humboldt, Killam, McKnight, and Trudeau Foundations, as well as from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • PhD: University of Toronto.


  • Modern and Contemporary Political Theory; Critical Theory; Empire, Imperialism, and Colonialism in the History of Political Thought; Indigeneity and Settler Colonialism
Courses Taught
  • Undergraduate: Contemporary Political Theory
  • Undergraduate: Imperialism and Modern Political Thought
  • Undergraduate: Indigenous Peoples, Settler Colonialism, and Political Theory
  • Graduate: Colonialism, Capitalism, and the Commons
  • Graduate: Ancient and Medieval Political Theory
  • Graduate: Theorizing Violence
  • Graduate: Late Modern Political Thought (Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche)
  • Theft is Property! Dispossession and Critical Theory. Nichols, Robert, Duke University Press, Author, 2020. Link
  • Context, Violence, and Methodological Drift in the Study of Empire: Nichols, Robert, Contemporary Political Theory, 2020.
  • Theft is Property! The recursive logic of dispossession: Nichols, Robert, Political Theory, 46(1) 3-26, 2018.
  • The World of Freedom: Heidegger, Foucault, and the politics of Historical Ontology. Nichols, Robert, Stanford University Press, Author, 2014.
  • Disaggregating Primitive Accumulation: Nichols, Robert, Radical Philosophy, 194 , 2015.
  • The Colonialism of Incarceration: Nichols, Robert, Radical Philosophy Review, 17.2 , 2014.
  • Freedom and Democracy in an Imperial Context: Dialogues with James Tully. Nichols, Robert, Jakeet Singh, Routledge, Co-Editor, 2014.
  • Contract & Usurpation: Enfranchisement and Racial Governance in Settler Colonial Contexts: Nichols, Robert, A.Simpson and A.Smith, eds., Duke University Press, Theorizing Native Studies.
  • Indigeneneity and the Settler Contract Today: Nichols, Robert, Philosophy & Social Criticism, 39.2 , 2013.
  • Talle Faculty Research Award, 2021 - 2023
  • McKnight Land Grant Professorship, 2016 - 2019
  • National Endowment for the Humanities- Enduring Questions Grant, 2016-2018
  • Mellon Sawyer Seminar, "The Politics of Land", 2016 - 2018
  • Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship; Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, 2013 - 2015
  • Fulbright Scholar Award; Columbia University, NYC, 2011 - 2012