James Cracraft is an independent historian based in Marshall, Michigan. He taught history for many years at the University of Illinois at Chicago and, as a visiting professor, at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, with courses on Russian and Soviet history, modern European history, historiography, and historical methods. He has also held research appointments at Harvard University and the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., where he concentrated on early modern Russian history (especially the era of Peter the Great) and U.S.-Soviet relations.
He formally retired from his position as professor of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago effective September 1, 2007, and assumed, by act of the Board of Trustees, the rank of Professor Emeritus in recognition of "distinguished service to the University of Illinois." For details of his career there, see his curriculum vitae.
Cracraft’s most recent research and writing have focused on interrelated topics in Russian and American history and on problems in the practice of history.