World History; United States History; Colonialism; Citizenship; Race; Democracy


Michelle M. Pinto is an Assistant Professor in the Intellectual Heritage Program. She received her Ph.D. in History & French Studies from New York University.  Her dissertation on the decolonization of French Africa in the twentieth century was entitled "France and the Construction of African Nation-States: Africanization in Postwar French Africa, 1946-1966." This research cut across European history, African/African diaspora history, and global history, and was funded by grants including the Fulbright Scholarship to France and the Robert Holmes Research Award for African Scholarship.

Pinto has given invited research presentations at the Maison Française of New York University; at Columbia University's "Beyond France" University Seminar; at Johns Hopkins University's Roundtable Event, "New Directions in Twentieth-Century Histories of Sub-Saharan Africa"; and at the University of Pennsylvania's Africa Center.

During her Ph.D. program, Pinto developed and taught early modern and modern Global History (c.1450-present) at New York University and the American University of Paris, as well as courses examining colonization and decolonization, comparative empires, and questions of citizenship, race, and immigration. From 2014-17, Pinto held a three-year postdoctoral faculty position in the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Integrated Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, where her teaching in this innovative, interdisciplinary, team-taught honors program navigated an array of disciplines and methodologies in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, including Philosophy/Cognitive Neuroscience, Classics/Anthropology, Religious Studies/Art History, and Evolutionary Psychology/Philosophy. Jointly appointed a Visiting Scholar in the Department of History at Penn, Pinto used her interdisciplinary experience to re-approach fundamental problems, concepts, and categories in the discipline of history.

Pinto brings this History and interdisciplinary teaching experience to her courses in the Intellectual Heritage Program, in which core issues of ethics, values, democracy, and justice are investigated in the US and in different world cultures and societies through close textual reading and analysis.  Pinto interweaves textual analysis with vibrant visual and experiential class visits to sites on campus and in the city of Philadelphia, including Temple University's Blockson Afro American Collection, the Memorial to Octavius Catto at City Hall, the Barnes Foundation, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Pinto encourages students to explore their understandings of themselves and the local, national, and global society in which they live, particularly with regard to their conceptions of citizenship, equality, and difference; and in terms of the historical structures, constraints, and possibilities within which they build their lives.

Courses Taught

  • Intellectual Heritage 1:  The Good Life
  • Intellectual Heritage 2:  The Common Good
  • Philadelphia Arts & Culture