60 Seconds with Amanda Niedfeldt

The U.S. Studies Online 60 Seconds interview feature offers a short and informal introduction to a postgraduate, academic or non-academic specialist working in the American and Canadian Studies field or a related American and Canadian Studies association.  Amanda Niedfeldt is a PhD candidate in English Literature at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities… Continue reading

Book Review: Safeguarding Democratic Capitalism: U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security, 1920-2015, by Melvyn P. Leffler

Safeguarding Democratic Capitalism presents a selection of work from one of the world’s leading scholars of US foreign relations. Together these essays offer an elegant and engagingly written survey of twentieth century US foreign policy and national security debates. Continue reading

Book Review: Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War by Viet Thanh Nguyen

All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory. In ‘Nothing Ever Dies’, Nguyen deals with the extensive ways of knowing and remembering wars in general, and delineates the identity crisis that arises from grappling with what some name the Vietnam War and what others would call the American War in Vietnam. Continue reading

Book review: Out of Oakland, Black Panther Party Internationalism during the Cold War by Sean L. Malloy

Sean L. Malloy’s book provides a convincing and engaging history of the internationalism of the Black Panther Party (BPP). It is a valuable contribution to scholarship on the BPP, black internationalism, and the intersection of issues of race and the Cold War. Continue reading

Part II: Anti-war Activism within the Military: ‘We cast these medals away as symbols of shame, dishonor, and inhumanity’: Veteran Protest and the Rejection of Cold War Patriotism

Soldiers returning from the battlefields of World War II were treated as heroes and their sacrifice was celebrated long after their homecoming. By contrast, Vietnam veterans were not similarly welcomed home as champions of democracy. Indeed, some veterans felt there was not any honour in their participation in Vietnam. In 1967, a small group of likeminded veterans – simultaneously upset about the treatment of Vietnam veterans when they returned home and the particularly violent nature of the war – founded Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). Continue reading

Part I: Anti-war Activism within the Military: ‘Still being sent to Nam to protect America’s myths’: Anti-war Soldiering and the Challenge to Cold War Patriotism

A 1971 Army study suggests that over 50% of active duty soldiers engaged in some form of dissent during their service. Rejecting popular Cold War patriotic mythology, these activist soldiers deemed the military an authoritarian institution and a tool of oppression wrought by an imperialistic America. In doing so, they challenged the official Cold War depiction of the United States as the protector of global democratic ideals against an evil, totalitarian communist ideology. Continue reading

Book Review: Cold War Anthropology: The CIA, the Pentagon, and the Growth of Dual Use Anthropology by David H. Price

David H. Price’s Cold War Anthropology is gripping and unusual. The author has previously explored the significant role anthropology has played in military strategies in his 2008 book, Anthropological Intelligence: The Deployment and Neglect of American Anthropology in the Second World War. This latest offering delves deeper underneath the surface in order to analyse the global post-war moment, and as such examines a cardinally different political context. Continue reading

Review: HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Endangered America: Processing the Threat of Annihilation’

In the fourth of our review series for the HOTCUS Postgraduate Conference, ‘Winning Minds and Hearts: Constructing National Identity in US History’, Jennifer O’Reilly reviews a panel featuring Andrew Monteith (Indiana University) and Mark Eastwood (University of Nottingham). The notion of America under threat has circulated in popular discourse for decades and remains a prominent concern today. In a recent poll featured in USA Today, conducted by Monmouth University, 78% of respondents said that they felt the American way of life was under threat ‘a great deal’ or at least ‘some’. Continue reading

Champions of Compassion: The American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service and Cold War-Era U.S. Foreign Policy

In the context of the Cold War, writes Joshua Mather, policymakers proved eager to enlist voluntary agencies (and their supporters) in initiatives that enhanced the United States’ image abroad and showcased the altruism nurtured by a democratic, capitalist society. Fully aware of the global struggle for hearts and minds, American Council of Voluntary Agencies for Foreign Service, Inc. leaders touted state-private humanitarianism’s value for U.S. foreign policy. By portraying Americans as deeply attuned to the needs of ordinary foreigners, and voluntary agencies as the collective embodiment of this concern, ACVAFS hoped to score a public diplomacy victory for the United States. Continue reading

Book Review: American Education in Popular Media: From the Blackboard to the Silver Screen edited by Sevan G. Terzian and Patrick A. Ryan

Building upon conversations within cultural and media studies, Terzian and Ryan have curated a collection that grapples with the relationship between intent and interpretation—between the way popular media images (mis)represent educational circumstances and the way such images shape how Americans have expected to see their educational surroundings. Continue reading