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Nathan Grau

Graduate Student Affiliate


Nathan Grau

Nathan Grau is currently an Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He is a historian of global imperialism whose work examines evolution and transnational circulation of colonial practices of violence between and across empires. He is currently completing a dissertation project, entitled "Brazzaville's Diaspora: Colonial Development, Racial Violence, and the Birth of Modern Counterinsurgency, 1941-1958." This work leverages oral histories and archival sources from France, Madagascar, the U.S., the U.K., and Vietnam to investigate France's violent decolonization conflicts in a comparative and transnational frame, illuminating common developmentalist policies, shared tactics, and a global network of colonial officials who bent the trajectory of France's retreat from empire towards mass violence. His writing has appeared in the Small Wars Journal, the Journal of Military History, and Agricultural History. He has received research support from the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad, the Fulbright Commission (France), the Society for French Historical Studies, the Society for Military History, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and the Krupp Foundation Dissertation Research Fellowship.

His interests broadly include global history, counterinsurgency, European Defense, and identitarian/sectarian violence. He has been a Fulbright fellow at the Université Paris-Nanterre and holds previous degrees from Columbia University and New York University.


  • Ph.D. Student in International History, Harvard University
  • Graduate Student Affiliate, Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University