Dr Malcolm Craig is currently a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH). His research interests include US and UK foreign policy during the Cold War, nuclear non-proliferation, secret intelligence, and media representations of these issues. He co-hosts the American History Too! podcast with Mark McLay, and writes his own irregular blog. His research has been published in Cold War History and The International History Review, and his first book on the US, the UK, and the Pakistani nuclear weapons programme in the 1970s will be appearing through Palgrave Macmillan in 2017.

Review: American Politics Group Conference

At this year’s American Politics Group (APG) annual conference at the University of Leicester, the 2016 US election and the then upcoming presidency of Donald J. Trump hardly warranted a mention. If that sounds unlikely to you, you are quite right. Trump, Trumpism, and the ‘failure to predict’ were hot topics across multiple panels, across dinner tables, and in the inevitable post-conference drinks. The campaign waged by ‘the Donald’ and his subsequent victory inspired a diverse range of assessments and analyses. No doubt, this will be the pattern for years to come. Continue reading

Silence = Death: Podcasting the history of the AIDS Crisis

By Malcolm Craig and Mark McLay, creators of the American History Too! podcast

As two white, straight, middle-class Scottish, male historians, do we have the right to explore such subjects? We would say yes. It’s the job of the historian to look at the evidence, illuminate dark corners, and try to make people aware about what really happened.

We felt that in order to do the subject of the 1980s AIDS crisis justice, we had to avoid repeating many of the myths and falsehoods that abound about the virus and the period. It was important not only examine the historiography of the subject, but crucially to look at the personal testimonies from those who contracted AIDS, those who tried to track its origins, and those who turned a blind eye when they should have extended a hand of friendship.

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“Atomic Ayatollahs”: The ‘Islamic Bomb’ in 1980s American News Media

The ‘Islamic bomb’ is and was shorthand for a perceived pan-Islamic desire for nuclear capability. Eliding nuanced understandings of the significant differences between strands of Islam, the diversity of the ‘Muslim world’, and the many different reasons why a country might (or might not) seek nuclear status, the ‘Islamic bomb’ was a trope that essentialised Islam and implied a monolithic religious bloc. Wilful misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the ‘Islamic world’ and its relationship with nuclear weapons have, however, been a feature of US media reporting since the late 1970s. Continue reading