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Faculty and Staff

Thomas F. O’Brien

Thomas O'Brien

Phone: (713) 743-3099
Office: 546 Agnes Arnold Hall
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Dr. O’Brien is a Moores Professor of History. He specializes in Latin American history, culture, politics and labor. Much of his research has examined the relationship between the U.S. and Latin America and how it has changed over time. Dr. O’Brien received his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. He is the recipient of the University of Houston Alumni Association Outstanding Faculty and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Service awards. Dr. O’Brien is also the winner of the Robertson Prize, which is awarded annually by the Conference on Latin American history for the best article in the Hispanic American Historical Review. He chaired the History Department for nine years and has served on the history department’s Graduate and Undergraduate Director.


Dr. O’Brien teaches a variety of undergraduate courses such as World Civilizations, the CIA in the Third World, Latin America, 1492 to 1820 and The U.S. and Latin America. His graduate courses include The United States and Latin America, Latin American Historiography National Period and History & Theory. He has been the advisor and participated in numerous thesis and dissertation committees.

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Research Interests

Dr. O’Brien has written four books, published several articles in scholarly journals and presented research papers at national history conferences. His current research is on the Americas from the age of revolutions to the era of globalization.

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Selected Publications

  • The Making of the Americas: The United States and Latin America from the Age of Revolutions to the Era of Globaliztion (University of New Mexico Press, 2007)

  • The Century of U.S. Capitalism in Latin America (University of New Mexico Press, 1999).

  • The Revolutionary Mission: American Enterprise in Latin America, 1900-1945 (Cambridge University Press, 1996).

  • The Nitrate Industry and Chile’s Crucial Transition (New York University Press, 1982).

  • “Making the Americas: U.S. Business People and Latin Americans from the Age of Revolutions to the Era of Globalization,” The History Compass, (Blackwell Publishing, 2004).

  • “The Revolutionary Mission: American Enterprise in Cuba,” The American Historical Review, 63 (June 1993): 765-785.

  • “Rich Beyond the Dreams of Avarice: The Guggenheim Brothers in Chile,” Business History Review, 63 (Spring 1989): 122-159.