At Rutgers University-Newark I was hired as a professor of the “United States & the World.” This might seem (at least to Americans) to encompass pretty much everything. But in the UK, my post was defined more open-endedly as “International History.” While my research interests over the past 15 years have focused largely on the United States and its encounters with others, I prefer that more expansive description of the field. The United States is, after all, part of “the world.”
At Rutgers, I teach courses spanning the history of US foreign relations from the colonial era to the present. One key goal is to interrogate precisely how categories of foreignness are constructed. Which “others” are foreign to whom? How do processes of domestication and alienation work in tandem with one another? Above all, I hope to unsettle familiar assumptions, exposing students to the deep roots of present-day ideas about the United States, its place in the world, and “others'” place in America.
In addition, I teach more specialized seminars– at the undergraduate and graduate levels– that draw directly and extensively on my research. In all my courses, I introduce students to a broad range of primary source materials, including photography and film, memoirs, letters, and fiction. Some sample syllabi are included here.
I’ve advised doctoral students in the PhD programs in History at Rutgers-New Brunswick and in American Studies and Global Affairs at Rutgers-Newark. Their thesis topics have included: US grand strategy in the Mediterranean in WWII; American missionaries in Angola; miniature American roadside attractions; Japanese cartoons on American TV, and the incorporation of news images into works of art during (and in opposition to) the Vietnam War.
- History of US Foreign Affairs: From the Founding of the Republic to World War I
- History of US Foreign Affairs: From World War I to the War on Terror
- History of US Foreign Affairs: US-Russian Relations From Tsarism to Today
- Senior Seminar in History: War and the Media
- Senior Seminar in History: US-Muslim Relations