James Anderson

Position: Professor
Field: Economic History
Region: United States

Office: 313 Old Horticulture
Email: anders90@msu.edu
Phone: (517)884-4942

Dr. Anderson is a graduate of the Michigan State University Honors College, having received a BA with High Honors in Political Science in 1962. He began his MSU studies with an initial major in Electrical Engineering, followed by Agricultural Science, where he was fortunate to work with some of MSU’s top scientists. One of them, Sylvan Wittwer, helped  publish his first research in plant physiology.  

Anderson’s interests are very much interdisciplinary.  He attended Harvard Divinity School on a Rockefeller Trial Year Fellowship during the 1962-63 academic year.  He then received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University.  While studying at Yale, he attended the Washington Seminar on Congress and American Foreign Policy, and served as its’ Research Director in the summers of 1964 and 1965.   

He joined the MSU faculty in 1967 with a dual appointment as Assistant Director of the Honors College and Instructor in the Humanities Department of University College.  After seven years of service as an academic administrator, he became a full-time faculty member of the humanities department.  In the Fall of 1992, he joined the History Department, with a teaching and research concentration in U.S. Economic History.  He has regularly taught U.S. Business and Economic History (213), and Modern U.S. History Since 1920 (306).  He now offers an additional course in Great American Inventors and Inventions (HST 110).  His area of research focuses on the rise and decline of American manufacturing, as well as the contributions of American Presidents to U.S. manufacturing employment. His most recent publication is Roads to Renewal, a book focused on the remarkable achievement of the Civil Works Administration in Michigan, during the Franklin Roosevelt New Deal.