Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations

Founded in 1967. Incorporated in 1972.

"The purpose of the corporation is: The maintenance of a Society of Historians for the study, advancement and dissemination of a knowledge of American Foreign Relations and the doing of all acts incidental to the accomplishment thereof." (From SHAFR's Certificate of Incorporation, May 22, 1972.)


Conferences and Calls for Papers

“Turning Points in the Cold War”: The 2009 SHAFR Summer Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations will hold its second annual Summer Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on June 29-July 3, 2009.  The Institute is designed for college and university faculty and advanced graduate students, with priority this year being given to the latter group. The Institute will pay each participant an honorarium of $500 and cover expenses of travel and accommodations. 

Fredrik Logevall of Cornell University and Jeremi Suri of the University of Wisconsin-Madison will co-direct the Institute, titled “Turning Points in the Cold War.” The Cold War dominated international affairs in the second half of the 20th century, and the scholarly literature on various aspects of the struggle is large and growing larger. Here the focus will be on turning points, on those moments when the nature of the struggle shifted (or appeared to shift) in an important way.  The approach will be global, with due attention given to decision-making not only in Washington and Moscow but in other world capitals as well.  Broader subjects to be addressed will include: structure vs. human agency in Cold War studies; the role of domestic politics in foreign-policy-making; the influence of ideas and culture; and the impact of the nuclear revolution.

All participants will be required to read a significant amount of relevant secondary literature, before and during the Institute.  Substantial time will be devoted to discussion of that literature, broader historiographical debates, and selected primary sources. Students who have ongoing research projects related to the seminar’s focus will be mentored, as appropriate, by the host faculty.  Those who are interested in beginning research on one of the seminar’s themes will be encouraged and guided by the host faculty in choice of topic, research design, and writing plans.

The deadline for applications is February 1, 2009.  Applicants should submit a one-page letter detailing their interest and explaining how participation would benefit their careers. Submit materials (and pose any questions) to Jeremi Suri at Decisions about acceptances will be distributed in February.

The Institute will run from Monday, June 29 to midday on Friday, July 3. It will follow on the heels of the 2009 SHAFR Annual Meeting, to be held in Falls Church, VA, on June 25-27. 

The Institute will make use of facilities at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, as well as the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

CALL FOR PAPERS - The United States in the World/ The World in the United States. 2009 Conference of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations

The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) invites proposals for panels and individual papers at its annual conference, June 25-27, 2009, to be held at the Fairview Park Marriott Hotel in Falls Church, Virginia. Although proposals for individual papers will be considered, proposals for complete or nearly complete panels are encouraged and will receive preference. In order to receive full consideration, proposals should be submitted no later than December 1, 2008.

The Program Committee welcomes panels and paper proposals that deal with the history of United States’ role in the world in the broadest sense. In order to complement SHAFR’s signature and continuing strengths in diplomatic, strategic, and foreign relations history, particularly for the post-1945 period, the Committee especially encourages proposals that deal with non-state actors and/or pre-1945 histories, as well as proposals that involve histories of gender and race, cultural history, religious history, environmental history, transnational history, and histories of migration and borderlands. The Committee also invites applications from scholars working in areas other than U. S. history, and panels that include work by such scholars. Finally, the Committee welcomes panels dealing with issues such as pedagogy and professionalization.

Panels can follow either of the following formats: (1) three or four papers, chair, and commentator or (2) a roundtable with a chair and participants. The committee also welcomes panels using innovative procedures, such as the circulation of papers prior to the conference to any interested conference attendees.

Panel submissions should total no more than three pages and must include the following information:

1. the name of each panelist as she/he would like it to appear on the program should the panel be accepted (please check the proper spelling of everyone’s name)
2. each participant’s institutional affiliation and status (graduate student, assistant professor, lecturer, professor, etc.);
3. the role of each panelist (presenter, chair, commentator, etc.);
4. contact information, including a working e-mail address and phone number for each participant;
5. some indication of each panelist who has not previously attended or who has attended but not previously presented a paper at a SHAFR meeting.

Each proposal should include a brief rationale, the title of each paper, and a short description of the work to be presented. Each panelist should include a brief bio. Please adhere to the limit of three pages. One member of each proposed session should be designated as the contact person.

Electronic submissions are strongly encouraged, but paper submissions will also be accepted. If submitting electronically, please send a copy of your application as a single Word or WordPerfect file attachment to Paul Kramer, program chair, at If submitting a paper copy of your application, please mark “SHAFR 2009 Proposal” on the front of the envelope, and mail it to Paul Kramer, Department of History, 280 Schaeffer Hall, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242

Robert A. and Barbara Divine Graduate Student Travel Grants

This year SHAFR will offer several Robert A. and Barbara Divine Graduate Student Travel Grants to assist graduate students who present papers at the conference. The following stipulations apply: 1) no award will exceed $300 per student; 2) priority will be given to graduate students who receive no or limited funds from their home institutions; and 3) expenses will be reimbursed by the SHAFR Business Office upon submission of receipts. The Program Committee will make the decision regarding all awards. A graduate student requesting travel funds must make a request when submitting the paper/panel proposal. (Funding requests will have no bearing on the committee's decisions on panels). Requests must be accompanied by a letter from the graduate advisor confirming the unavailability of departmental funds to cover travel to the conference.

SHAFR Diversity and International Outreach Fellowship Program

This year, SHAFR inaugurates a competition for fellowships that will cover travel and lodging expenses for the 2009 annual meeting. The competition is aimed at scholars whose participation in the annual meeting would add to the diversity of the Society. Preference will be given to persons who have not previously presented at SHAFR annual meetings. The awards are intended for scholars who represent groups historically under-represented at SHAFR meetings, scholars who offer intellectual approaches that may be fruitful to SHAFR but are under-represented at annual meetings, and scholars from outside the United States. "Scholars" includes faculty, graduate students, and independent
researchers. To further acquaint the winners with SHAFR, they will also be awarded a one-year membership in the organization, which includes subscriptions to Diplomatic History and Passport. For application instructions, contact Application deadline: December 1, 2008.

CALL FOR PAPERS:  Empire at End? Global Transformations in the Late Twentieth Century

Conference Date: April 3-4, 2009
Submission Deadline: December 19, 2008

Location: The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Sponsor: The Mershon Center for International Security Studies 

The Mershon Center for International Security Studies is pleased to announce its third conference on global history.  This symposium will bring together junior faculty and advanced PhD candidates to probe the patterns, limits, and agents of global change in late twentieth century.  Panelists will be asked to consider to what extent, and for what reasons, the bipolar balance of power that characterized the early Cold War were increasingly challenged, particularly from the 1970s onward.  It is the hope of the conference organizers that, in examining the interplay of new forces for change and the forces resisting change, we might come to better understand the relationships between the global transformations of the late twentieth century and pan-European Empire.  Did these transformations mark the “End of Empire” or merely redefine empire? 

Students of diplomatic, international, and transnational history, along with economists, political scientists, and specialists in globalization, are especially encouraged to submit papers.  The conference will examine themes of globalization and nationalism, as well as warfare, social protest, and political economy.  As such, its geographical scope will be broad, focusing not only on the United States and the Soviet Union, but also Western and Eastern Europe, East and South Asia, Latin America, and Africa. 

Proposals should include a one-page abstract and one page c.v.  Electronic submissions are preferred and should be sent to Alex Poster at  Those who prefer a hard-copy submission should send their materials to Alex Poster at 106 Dulles Hall, 230 West 17th Ave, Columbus, Ohio, 43210.  Proposals must be received by 19 December 2008.  Participants will receive reimbursement for their transportation on the basis of economy fare, meals, as well as accommodation during their stay in Columbus for two nights.


The American Foreign Policy Center (AFPC) at Louisiana Tech University is pleased to announce the establishment of a fellowship program to help defray the costs associated with travel to and research in the American Foreign Policy Center in Ruston, Louisiana.

Created in 1989 to promote research in the field of US foreign policy and to increase public awareness of world affairs, the AFPC collection contains approximately 3,200 reels of microfilm and 2,000 microfiches of public and private papers associated with the Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations, as well as State Department files for China, Cuba, El Salvador, Formosa/Taiwan, France, Germany, Indochina/Southeast Asia, Japan, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Palestine/Israel, and the former Soviet Union. With its collection drawn from several different archives across the United States, the AFPC is an optimal place to begin research on a topic, or an excellent resource to consult in the final stages of a project. A list of our holdings is accessible on-line at

Both faculty and graduate students are invited to apply. Applications should include a detailed proposal outlining the project, a cv, a budget, and two letters of support. A successful applicant will be expected to offer a brief presentation on the project and his/her findings in the Center at the conclusion of the stay. Interested parties should send applications the following address: Brian Etheridge, Department of History, Louisiana Tech University, P.O. Box 8548, Ruston, Louisiana 71272. Feel free to contact Brian Etheridge with questions at or by phone at (318) 257-2872.


* CONFERENCE POSTPONED*CALL FOR PAPERS - Culture and International History IV Frankfurt/Main, F.R.G. 19 - 21 December 2008*CONFERENCE POSTPONED*

The Center for North American Studies, the Historische Seminar of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, and the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, Berlin, invite proposals for the fourth symposium dedicated to the study of the role of culture in international relations. Possible themes include but are not exclusively limited to the social and psychological structure of diplomacy; the demise of the West as a center of cultural diplomacy; the role of NGOs and private individuals in the making of an international order; long-term strategies and developments of cultural relations; alternative visions of modernity; rooted cosmopolitanism. Interested scholars may consult the publications emerging from previous conferences, including Culture and International History (2003) and Decentering America (2007).

Culture and International History IV will take place at the Campus Westend of the Johann Wolfgang-Universität Frankfurt am Main (Germany) from December 19 to 21, 2008. The city features several operas, jazz clubs, theaters, a historical district and a large downtown shopping area besides seasonal attractions. It is easily accessible by airplane, train or car. Frankfurt airport is the second largest in Europe and the central hub for numerous international airlines. Participants arriving from overseas will fly into Frankfurt airport, then take the commuter train and subway to campus.

To be fully considered proposals must arrive by Monday, March 31, 2008. Proposals should include: paper title and abstract, and a one-page vita of the participant. Proposals for panels will likewise be considered (chair/commentator, three panelists). Pending approval, speakers may apply for funds to help defray their travel costs and accommodation. Participants who have an interest in the topic and would like to attend the conference without delivering a paper are welcome and should likewise contact the organizers. The conference fee is Euro 50 per person and includes participation, snacks and beverages. The costs for accommodations in two nearby hotels across from the campus range between Euro 79 and Euro 125 per person, night and single room.

Please submit proposals and questions via email to: Jessica Gienow-Hecht & Mark Donfried:*CONFERENCE POSTPONED*

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Effective FOIA Requesting for Researchers, George Washington University and the National Security Archive, 5 December 2008

On 5 December, 2008, George Washington University and the National Security Archive will join forces for a day-long workshop on “Effective FOIA Requesting for Researchers.”  This session will offer a unique opportunity for graduate students currently enrolled in Ph.D programs to learn the fundamentals of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and how to use it.  The workshop will take place at the Elliott School in Washington, D.C and will be limited to 20 participants.  GWU will cover overnight accommodation when necessary and accepted students may apply for subsidized travel.

Applications should include the appropriate form now available at as well as:

  1. a two-page proposal indicating how the workshop is important for your dissertation research
  2. a curriculum vitae

Please send applications via e-mail to by 30 October, 2008 with the subject line reading “FOIA Workshop.”

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: 7th Annual Summer Institute on Conducting Archival Research (SICAR), George Washington University, 25-29 May 2009.

George Washington University’s Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies is pleased to announce the 7th annual Summer Institute on Conducting Archival Research (SICAR).  This prestigious five-day seminar will be held in Washington, D.C.,  from 25-29 May, 2009.  SICAR trains graduate students from multiple disciplines to maximize their research in archives and is based around three themes:

  • preparing to go to an archive and structuring time once there
  • understanding how archival documetns come to be written and deposited in archives
  • tackling the challenges of interpreting archival documents, includign issues of culture and foreign language.


Students from the US and abroad working on international relations and modern history are encouraged to apply.  Applications should include the form available at, as well as:

  1. a two-page proposal indicating how the week-long Summer Institute would be beneficial to your dissertation research
  2. a curriculum vitae
  3. one letter of recommendation from a faculty member in your department.

Applications should be sent to by 10 February, 2009 with the subject line reading “SICAR application.”  Recommendation letters may be e-mailed or sent to: The Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies;  ATTN: SICAR; 1957 E St. N.W., Suite 412, Washington, DC 20052.


Clinton Institute for American Studies, University College Dublin
Plenary speakers include:

PROFESSOR RICHARD H. IMMERMAN (Professor and Edward J. Buthusiem Family Distinguished Faculty Fellow in History at Temple University, Assistant Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analytical Integrity and Standards and Analytic Ombudsman for the ODNI)

PROFESSOR RICHARD J. ALDRICH (Professor of International Security at the University of Warwick and the author of several books on intelligence and security communities, including The Hidden Hand: Britain, America and Cold War Secret Intelligence)

Recent years have witnessed the largest restructure in the American intelligence community since the early years of the Cold War. This conference will consider the historical and contemporary role of the Central Intelligence Agency in the formulation and implementation of American foreign relations.

We invite papers and panels that address any aspect of the relationship between the CIA and US foreign policy from the creation of the Agency in 1947 up to the present day. There will be a particular, although by no means exclusive, attention to issues of Agency reform, representation and interaction, as well as new approaches to intelligence.

For further information, visit:

Please send single paper and panel proposals in an email to with the following information:

1) Name, contact details and academic affiliation

2) Paper title

3) 200-300 word abstract

4) Brief CV or biographical statement


For queries or further information contact:

Dr. Kaeten Mistry:

Clinton Institute for American Studies
Belfield House
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
+ 353 1 716 1592

back to top