John Dixon is a historian of early America and the early modern Atlantic world. His research interests include intellectual and cultural history, the Enlightenment, New York history, and Jewish history.

A former associate editor of the Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers, Professor Dixon received his Ph.D. in American history from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2007. He joined the College of Staten Island in 2009, and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on such topics as America before 1865, American ideas, the history of New York, historical methods, and historiography. In addition, he serves as the coordinator of the MA History program at CSI.

The Enlightenment of Cadwallader Colden, Professor Dixon’s first book, was published by Cornell University Press in 2016. It recreates the enlightened culture of an eighteenth-century statesman, botanist, historian, cartographer, and natural philosopher who claimed to have discovered the cause of gravity and who became one of the most hated political figures in pre-Revolutionary New York.

Professor Dixon was the 2015-2016 Senior Research Scholar at the Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History, New York University. He is currently working on his second book. Provisionally titled Jews and the Atlantic World, 1450-1800, it explores the history of the early modern Atlantic world through the experience of Jews, crypto-Jews, and conversos.


Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

M.A., University of East Anglia, England

B.A., University of Birmingham, England

Scholarship / Publications

“The Enlightenment and America,” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History, published online July 2016,

The Enlightenment of Cadwallader Colden: Empire, Science, and Intellectual Culture in British New York (Cornell University Press, due 2016).  

“Henry F. May and the Revival of the American Enlightenment: Problems and Possibilities for Intellectual and Social History,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., 71, no. 2, April 2014, pp. 255–80.

“Between Script and Specie: Cadwallader Colden’s Printing Method and the Production of Permanent, Correct Knowledge,” Early American Studies 8, no.1, Winter 2010, pp. 75–93.

Last Updated: 07.19.2016