College of Arts, Sciences and Education
Christian Peterson, PhD
Adjunct Instructor Level 3 - History
2016 Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award; 2017 Academic Scholar Award
Phone: (231) 591-3689
Email: [email protected]
- PhD, Ohio University, History, U.S. Foreign Relations and 20th Century U.S. Political History and Russian/Soviet History and British Imperialism since 1815
- MA, Utah State University, History, U.S. Foreign Policy and 20th Century U.S. Political History B
- BA, Yale University, History
Dr. Christian Peterson currently teaches history at Ferris State University. He received his B.A in history from Yale (1999), M.A in history from Utah State University (2001), and Ph.D in history from Ohio University (2009). He has authored Ronald Reagan and Antinuclear Movements in the United States and Western Europe, 1981-1987 (2003) and Globalizing Human Rights: Private Citizens, the Soviet Union, and the West (2012). He is also a co-editor of The Routledge History of World Peace since 1750, which should be released in September 2018. This work consists of cutting-edge essays that have been organized to bring about a fruitful dialogue between historians who write about peace and specialists in the field of Peace and Conflict Studies (PCS) who have embraced the task of empirical theory building. Besides co-editing this work, Dr. Peterson has also co-written an article in this anthology with the noted U.S. peace historian Chuck Howlett that moves beyond the confines of the West and offers a global view of how private citizens worked to promote peace during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Dr. Peterson has also written a number of peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. His “Seeing the Value of the Helsinki Accords” will appear in upcoming edited work The CSCE, 1975-1990: International Reordering and Societal Change (Berghahn Books). He originally wrote this paper after being one of three Americans selected to present work at a conference in Paris titled “Helsinki 40 Years After: International Reordering and Societal Change, 1975-1990 (December 2015).” The Journal of Cold War Studies, one of the leading scholarly journals in the world, will also publish his article “Changing the World from ‘Below’: U.S. Peace Activists and the Transnational Struggle for Peace and Détente during the 1980s.” This work examines how some U.S. peace activists, members of the non-governmental group U.S. Helsinki Watch, and American anarchists contributed to transnational debates during the 1980s that linked the Final Act to furthering the causes of peace, human rights, and the building of a “détente from below.” Furthermore, his essay the “Reagan Administration and the Transformation of the Soviet Union” will appear in William Schmidli and Robert Pee’s edited volume The Reagan Administration, the Cold War and the Transition to Democracy (Palgrave Macmillan).
Because of his commitment to promoting diversity and political engagement, Dr. Peterson has delivered numerous talks about Russian/Soviet history and the subject of U.S.-Russian relations, including how the Baltic nations’ struggle for independence from Soviet rule helps reveal the complexities of making history. In January 2017, he traveled to Russia to deliver a paper titled “Henry David Thoreau‘s ‘Civil Disobedience’ and the Teaching of History” for a conference at Kazan Federal University. During the closing ceremony of this conference, the organizers praised him for delivering a thought-provoking presentation that raised important questions about dissent, political participation, and challenging governmental authority that all Russian citizens should ponder. The current issue of the Concord Saunterer contains a scholarly account of his reflections on this trip entitled “Grappling with Thoreau’s ‘Civil Disobedience’ in the Russian Federation.”
Dr. Peterson has also participated in numerous panels and delivered talks that deal with a broad array of subjects. On 8 February 2018, as a member of the Ferris State Political Engagement Project Steering Committee (PEP), he organized and delivered a presentation on the broad contours of Korean history and the issue of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program for a panel titled “Symphony of Destruction? Understanding the Nuclear Standoff on the Korean Peninsula.” In January 2017, he served on a panel entitled ““Politics Now—What Would Martin Luther King Think?” that allowed him to point out some of Dr. King’s messages that people sometimes forget such as the importance of combating wealth inequality, the pitfalls of unrestrained consumerism, and the enduring strength of white racism. After becoming a member of Ferris State’s Planning Committee for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Week, he interviewed the former President of Ferris State’s NAACP chapter and former Ferris State Board of Trustee member Ron Snead during the panel “We Were There—Ferris State Student Riots, 1968-1969” (January 2018).
During November 2017, Dr. Peterson delivered a broad overview of U.S. immigration history for a panel titled “‘I Have a Dream”: What Are DACA Dreamers All About?” that PEP and the Center for Latin@ Studies (CLS) at Ferris State cosponsored. He also spoke about the history of gerrymandering in the United States for the panel session “Gerrymandering: Is it Destroying our Democracy?”—a discussion where he described the use of gerrymandering and restrictive voter ID laws to limit the voting of minority groups in the United States. He even travelled to Finlandia University to participate in the panel “Perspectives on Peace: Four Authors Discuss the History of World Peace since 1750.”
Dr. Peterson has worked as a podcast host for the well-regarded online forum New Books in World Affairs. This job entails his interviewing authors about their new books in subjects as diverse as the future of U.S. foreign policy, U.S-Russian/Soviet relations, and the Armenian genocide. He has also made television appearances that can be seen as helping further the process of political engagement. In November 2016, he served as the “special” or “expert” commentator on the 2016 elections for the WWUP/WWTV (Channels 9 and 10 News)--CBS Affiliate. On numerous occasions since then, he has appeared in segments on this channel that deal with topics such as Donald Trump’s State of the Union address and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US presidential campaign and the relationship between Russia and Trump’s campaign team/administration officials.
Since becoming a professor at Ferris State, Dr. Peterson has taught seventeen separate courses in the face-to-face and online formats, including specialized classes on U.S. foreign policy, modern East Asian history, the international history of the Vietnam Wars, and the Renaissance & Reformation. For the East Asian class, he piloted a program in which Honors Students supplemented the regular coursework with individual projects designed to illustrate their independent learning and creativity.
Right now, Dr. Peterson is working with noted peace activist and current Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz on a book titled Changing the World From Below: The Transnational Struggle for Peace, Human Rights, and a People’s Détente. This work will explore how the Helsinki Accords fit into transnational debates about the proper relationship among the issues of human rights, peace, the Helsinki Accords (Final Act), and détente during the 1980s and early 1990s. It will also examine how U.S. peace activists either participated in these debates or rejected the argument that the cause of peace depended on improved governmental respect for basic human rights. Drawing on his personal experiences and language skills, Jacek will write about how Soviet and Central-Eastern European private citizens conceived of these debates and worked to forge transnational connections with Westerners designed to end the Cold War and create a more humane world.
Peterson, C. (Discussant), Passion for the Past Discussion Series, “An International History of the Berlin Wall’s Collapse: Reflections after Thirty Years,” Ferris State University, (November 7, 2019).
Peterson, C. (Discussant), Passion for the Past Discussion Series, “What, then is the American? The History and Future of Immigration in the United States," Ferris State University, (September 25, 2019).
Peterson, C. (Panelist), Ferris State University Constitution Day Celebration Panel and Student Award Ceremony, “Why Deliberation and Debate matter in the United States," (September 17, 2019).
Peterson, C. (Presenter), Colloquium Series, “Saving the World ‘From Below’: Joanne Landy and the Campaign for Peace and Democracy—East and West," Ferris State University, (March 2019).
Peterson, C. (Discussant), Passion for the Past Discussion Series, “Can’t We All Just Get Along? Group Identity in the Modern World," Ferris State University, (March 27, 2019).
Peterson, C. (Presenter), Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week Event, “We Were There: Ferris State Student Riots, 1968-1969," Ferris State University, (January 2018).
Peterson, C. (Presenter), Political Engagement Project Event, “Symphony of Destruction? Understanding the Nuclear Standoff on the Korean Peninsula," Ferris State University, (February 2018).
Peterson, C. (Discussant), Passion for the Past Discussion Series, “What is Patriotism," Ferris State University, (March 2018).
Peterson, C. (Other), Film, "The Brainwashing of My Dad," Ferris State University, (April 23, 2018).
Peterson, C. (Presenter), “The Cars of the Past and Future," Ferris State University Early Learning Center, (July 23, 2018).