CFA- “Writing the History of U.S. Foreign Relations in an Age of Crisis”

Call for Applications:
“Writing the History of U.S. Foreign Relations in an Age of Crisis”

2025 SHAFR Summer Institute, June 21-25, 2025, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

Faculty Directors: Alvita Akiboh and Michael Brenes (Yale University)

The largest land war in Europe since World War II, looming conflict with China, war in Gaza, and instability in states such as Haiti, Syria, and Afghanistan have fundamentally reshaped global affairs. These conflicts exist alongside unprecedented rates of economic and racial inequality, the escalating havoc wrought by climate change, and the reemergence of autocratic figures in the United States and around the world. Indeed, the world is currently embroiled in what commentators have called a “polycrisis.” These crises present challenges and opportunities for historians of U.S. foreign relations to explore the origins of our current moment, to offer scholars and the public nuanced perspectives on how to understand our world. Yet the historical profession—and the humanities broadly—is in the throes of its own crisis. Decades of austerity, neglect, and precarity have eroded the historical discipline—and the ranks of historians— with many scholars of U.S. foreign relations unable to secure tenure-track positions or produce enduring scholarship in alternative careers.

In this light, we ask crucial questions about the role of historians of the United States and the world at this critical juncture. What role can history serve to inform in our age of crisis? How should historians of U.S. foreign relations write history in an age of crisis? What key themes and subjects should be the focus of the field given the turbulence of our age? How can we situate and comprehend our professional crisis within the context of a global “polycrisis?” We will seek to answer these questions and others, while also helping a cohort of young scholars to develop sophisticated and nuanced perspectives that will shape their work on the inevitable crises of the future.

The theme of “crisis” informs the revived Summer Institute of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, which will take place June 21—June 25, 2025, at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The institute will be co-directed by historians Alvita Akiboh and Michael Brenes, and will include a range of guests from within the historical profession. Geared toward advanced PhD students in history, the institute will feature seminar-style discussions and meetings with leading scholars. The Summer Institute will also provide a forum for participants to present their research and participate in workshops on professional development, teaching, and publishing. Each participant will be reimbursed for travel to New Haven and to a return destination, will be provided with accommodation and meals, and will receive a modest honorarium.

The deadline for applications is December 15, 2024. The 2025 SHAFR Summer Institute is open to advanced PhD students with ABD status. If interested in participating, please submit a c.v., a brief cover letter (stating why the summer institute would further the applicant’s career goals and dissertation project), a 250-word abstract of the dissertation project, and a letter of recommendation from a dissertation supervisor or committee member. These materials should be submitted as a PDF or Word document to Alvita Akiboh ([email protected]) and Michael Brenes ([email protected]). Please send all questions to the faculty directors.

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