Menu Close
Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, Emeritus, Princeton University

Robert Tignor, the Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, teaches courses in African history and world history and has done research on British colonialism and its aftermath, world history, and the modern histories of Egypt, Nigeria, and Kenya. He joined the History Department in 1960 after earning his Ph.D. at Yale University (1960). He has been closely involved in the Department’s efforts to expand its teaching and research beyond Europe and North America, having introduced the first departmental courses in African and world history. His publications include Modernization and British Colonial Rule in Egypt(1966), The Colonial Transformation of Kenya (1976), State, Private Enterprise, and Economic Change in Egypt (1984), Egyptian Textiles and British Capital (1989),Capitalism and Nationalism at the End of Empire: State and Business in Decolonizing Egypt, Nigeria, and Kenya (1998), and Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of the Modern World (2002). Professor Tignor is also affiliated with the Program in Near Eastern Studies and the Program in African Studies.

Current Project

Professor Tignor has just finished a study of the West Indian-born, British-educated development economist, W. Arthur Lewis, whose life and influence were deeply involved in race relations and decolonization in Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Professor Tignor is now working on a companion volume to the world history textbook Worlds Together, Worlds Apart and on a history of Egypt from prehistoric times to the present day.

Teaching Interests

Professor Tignor teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in modern African history (1880 to the present) and modern world history (1300 to the present).


B.A., College of Wooster, 1955, Phi Beta Kappa, Honors, and Prize for Outstanding History Student
M.A. and Ph.D., Yale University, 1956 and 1960; Tew Prize for Outstanding Student in the First Year


  • –present
    Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, Emeritus, Princeton University