Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Michael Hicks

Michael Hicks

Graduate Student

108 Weaver Building

University Park, PA 16802



M.A., Penn State University, 2018
B.A., Winona State University, 201
Michael Hicks Headshot


Michael is a PhD candidate in the History and African American studies dual title program. His research is at the intersection of Chinese foreign policy in Africa and propaganda outreach to African Americans during the Cold War.

Before coming to Penn State, Michael lived in southern China for three years as a high-school English teacher and student of Mandarin Chinese. While living in China, Michael traveled extensively through the country and the Asia-Pacific region.

Michael’s previous research includes African Americans and the Shanghai jazz scene before World War II and using hip-hop lyrics to analyze the relationship of black and Korean residents in Los Angeles prior to the 1992 Rodney King riots. Michael’s current project seeks to interrogate if and what relationship Chinese diplomacy in Africa had to propaganda efforts aimed at African American intellectuals during the Cold War, and to understand how Beijing navigated relationships with Africans and with black Americans.

Awards and Services:

2019 – Humanities Without Walls Predoctoral Career Diversity Residential Fellow, HWW Consortium

2019 – Lawrence J. and Gretchen McCabe Graduate Scholarship, Richards Civil War Center

2018 – Dickerson Family Foundation Grant, College of Liberal Arts

2017 – Charles and Harriet Pencak Endowment, Department of History

2017 – Bunton-Waller Scholarship, College of Liberal Arts

Recent Courses:

HIST 1: The Western Civilization to 1500

HIST 10: World History to 1500

HIST 11: World History since 1500

HIST 20: American Civilization to 1877