Professor of History at Cornell University and, in
2006-07, Leverhulme Professor at the University of Nottingham
and Mellon Senior Research Fellow at Clare College, University of Cambridge.
Area of Research: U.S. Foreign Relations, International History
Education: PhD, History, Yale University, May 1993
Major Publications: Logevall has published numerous books and articles on U.S. foreign policy in the Cold War era, including Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam (1999) and The Origins of the Vietnam War (2001). He is also the editor of Terrorism And 9/11: A Reader, (Houghton Mifflin, 2002); and the co-author of A People and A Nation: A History of the United States (7th ed, 2005), co-editor of the Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy, and co-editor of The First Vietnam War: Colonial Conflict and Cold War Crisis (2007). He is also the co-editor of Nixon in the World: American Foreign Relations, 1969-1977 (with Andrew Preston; Oxford University Press) whih will be published in 2008. Logevall is currently at work on an international history of the struggle for Indochina after 1940.
Awards: Logevall is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Mellon Senior Research Fellow, University of Cambridge, 2006-2007;
Leverhulme Professor, University of Nottingham, September 2006-June 2007;
George W. Morgan Lecturer, Thomas Watson Institute, Brown University, April 2006;
Stuart L. Bernath Lecture Prize, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, 2003;
UC Regents' Humanities Faculty Fellowship, 2003;
Warren F. Kuehl Book Prize, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, 2001;
Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize (co-winner), Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, 2000;
W. Turrentine Jackson Book Award, Pacific Coast Branch, American Historical Association, 2000;
Choice Outstanding Academic Book, 2000;
The Charles Griffin Lectureship, Vassar College, 2000;
UCSB Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Prize for the Humanities and Fine Arts, 1998;
Outstanding Faculty Member Award (UCSB Residence Halls), 1996;
Interdisciplinary Humanities Center Faculty Grant, 1995, 1996, 2000;
Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation Moody Research Grant, 1994;
Stuart L. Bernath Article Prize, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, 1994;
Whiting Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 1992-93;
W. Turrentine Jackson Article Prize, Pacific Coast Branch, AHA, 1992;
MacArthur Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 1991-92.
Prior to coming to Cornell, he taught at UC Santa Barbara, where he co-founded the Center for Cold War Studies.
One day in the fall of 1989 I was in the library going through back issues of scholarly journals when I came upon an essay by Walter LaFeber, now my colleague at Cornell. LaFeber asserted that an American scholar of either U.S. foreign policy or international relations is hindered by an"occupational hazard." He or she is supposed to act as an outsider in analyzing the policy or the system but in reality is an inhabitant of, and indeed has grown to intellectual maturity in, a nation that has dominated global affairs in the post-1914 era. LaFeber cited another Cornellian, Carl Becker, who believed that the professor's obligation is to"think otherwise," but LaFeber noted that such an obligation can be difficult to fulfill when the scholar is also a citizen of the world's leading hegemonic power. It is a problem to act as an outsider when one operates at the center of the system.
Wow, I thought, LaFeber was suggesting that I, a Swede who had also lived for some years in Canada and who was just beginning my doctoral studies in U.S. foreign relations history, potentially had a small advantage over those American intellectual heavyweights whose books and articles I was encountering in my classes. Perhaps I could heed more easily than they Becker's call to"think otherwise."
Over the years I continued to think LaFeber's assertion had merit, and I still think it does, even though I too now live in the center of the system. An outsider perspective can often be an insightful one-though of course there's no guarantee. At the very least it will be a different perspective, and I have no doubt that my own foreign heritage and upbringing have shaped my research on U.S. foreign relations in significant ways. It has made me interested in comparative questions, in exploring notions of American exceptionalism (in the sense of difference, not superiority). Why, for example, did the Manichean anti-communism permeating much of American political discourse after 1945 have no real counterpart anywhere else in the Western world-including in my native Sweden, one of the most Americanized countries in Europe? (Only in the United States among the Western democracies, Eric Hobsbawm has noted, was the" communist world conspiracy" a serious element in domestic politics.) What was the effect of this difference on foreign policy-making in the U.S. and in Europe, on perceptions of the Soviet threat, on the willingness to enter negotiations with communist adversaries?
Likewise, my interest in the Vietnam War-which has been the focus of much of my scholarly research-grew in part out of that war's divisive impact on politics in neutral Sweden, a country about as far removed from the scene of the fighting as it was possible to be. Though too young to have any real memories of the demonstrations and counter-demonstrations in Stockholm and other cities (Sweden was the first Western nation to extend diplomatic recognition to North Vietnam), I developed early on a deep interest in the conflict, and a desire to learn why it happened and whether it could have been avoided.
Ultimately, of course, having an outsider perspective does not require being foreign- born or raised. Carl Becker hailed from Waterloo, Iowa, the heart of Middle America. Walter LaFeber, similarly, is the proud son of Walkerton, Indiana. Yet from the start both showed in their work a marvelous capacity to question the received wisdom, to dig deeper, to think otherwise. It's a standard all of us who love history should strive to meet.
By Fredrik Logevall
About Fredrik Logevall
Assistant Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania, 2001-present.
Area of Research: Modern American cultural, intellectual, and political history
Education: Ph.D. in History, Princeton University, November 2001.
Major Publications: Igo is author of The Averaged American: Surveys, Citizens, and the Making of a Mass Public (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, January 2007), which has received press attention in venues such as the New York Times, National Public Radio, C-SPAN's Book TV, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, New York Sun, Atlantic Monthly, Democracy Journal, and Reason Magazine. Igo is currently working on a book, tentatively entitled The Known Citizen, charting the recent cultural history of privacy, examined through legal debates, technological innovations, professional codes, and recastings of familial and domestic life.
Awards: Igo is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
President's Book Award, Social Science History Association, for an"especially meritorious" first book, 2006;
Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University, Visiting Fellow, 2006-2007;
Thornbrough Award, for the best article of the year in the Indiana Magazine of History, 2005;
John C. Burnham Early Career Award, jointly awarded by the Forum for the History of Human Science and the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 2004;
Institute for Advanced Study (School of Social Science), Member, 2004-2005;
American Council of Learned Societies, Andrew W. Mellon Junior Faculty Fellowship, 2004-2005;
Trustee's Council of Penn Women, Summer Faculty Research Fellowship, 2004;
Dissertation Prize, Forum for the History of Human Science, 2004;
Richard S. Dunn Award for Distinguished Teaching, University of Pennsylvania, 2003;
National Young Faculty Leaders Forum, Invited Member, Harvard University, 2002-present;
Princeton Society of Fellows of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, Dissertation Fellowship, 1999-2001;
Whiting Foundation in the Humanities, Dissertation Fellowship, 1999-2000;
University Center for Human Values, Graduate Prize Fellowship, 1999-2000;
Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, Summer Grant, 1998, 1999, 2000;
Davis Merit Prize, Princeton University Department of History, 1995-1997;
Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, Graduate Fellowship, 1995-1996;
Class Marshal, Harvard College, 1991;
John Harvard Award, Academic Achievement of Highest Distinction, Harvard College, 1990-1991.
Formerly Instructor in History and Social Science, Phillips Academy, Andover, 1992-1995.
Igo has also worked as a Historical Consultant for"U.S. Politics, 1980-2000," for CBS News/Schlessinger Media, 2001, and"The First Measured Century: One Hundred Years of Social Science," Public Broadcasting Service, 2000.
In graduate school I often envied my fellow students, who spent years at a stretch in Berlin, Shanghai, or Mombasa, soaking up other cultures, cuisines, and landscapes alongside their work in the archives. As an Americanist, I had no such luck. In fact, my research wound up taking me to what some might consider the most mundane of locations: the U.S. Midwest.
During my travels in America's"heartland," however, I had some of my most wonderful experiences as an historian. In Bloomington, Indiana, where I was reading Alfred Kinsey's correspondence (in an adults-only archive where most researchers were flipping not through dusty letters but 1920s German porn magazines and the like!), an archivist took the time to take me on a tour of the college town's used book stores, and to share her stories about working in an institute named for one of the more controversial scientists of the twentieth century. In Muncie, Indiana—a community better known as"Middletown" via Helen and Robert Lynd's social surveys of 1929 and 1937—I got to stroll the streets of a city that most Americans know only through a classic sociological text, and to see firsthand how that survey still colored locals' sense of their history seventy years later. I'll never forget the generosity of one of the archivists there, who not only tracked down all kinds of sources for me, but tracked me down, the night before I left town, at the house where I was staying, in order to hand over one last sheaf of materials.
The charm of the seemingly mundane has turned out to be a theme of my career thus far. How certain ideas, conventions, categories, languages, and ways of knowing became matter-of-fact aspects of American culture has been, for me, a persistent source of fascination. Trained as an intellectual and cultural historian, I've been most fascinated by what"ordinary," anonymous people believe: how they come to their frameworks for understanding the social world, and why those frameworks change. Indeed, this led me in my first book to examine the political and epistemological authority of the"average,""typical," and"normal" in the mid-twentieth-century United States. In this case, by looking at citizens' arguments over statistical information about"ourselves" in the public sphere, I hoped to get as close as possible to everyday styles of thinking that were undergoing challenge from social scientific modes of inquiry.
Such broad shifts in imagination and perception, or what I sometimes call popular intellectual history, also animate my current book project on modern privacy, in which I aim to track the changing status of"what's public" and"what's private" from the perspective not of legal authorities or the state, but (dare I say it) of"average" citizens. As I tell my students at Penn (some of whom are at first skeptical about the value of cultural history), ideas that are widely shared—and assumed or believed without being articulated directly—are extremely powerful. They form the structures of conviction that underlie the"harder stuff" of history: actions, laws, and events. In other words, the mundane carries a deep significance for those who choose to look at it.
By Sarah E. Igo
About Sarah E. Igo
Visiting Assistant Professor of History and Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University
Area of Research: U.S. Since 1945, Political History, Civil Rights Movement
Education: Ph.D, University of California, Berkeley, History, May 2006
Major Publications: Sokol is author of There Goes My Everything: White Southerners in the Age of Civil Rights, 1945-1975 (Alfred A. Knopf, Aug. 2006). He is currently working on The Northern Mystique: Politics and Race From Boston to Brooklyn, 1960-2006, the following book chapter:"To Fulfill These Rights: Governors and the Politics of Race, North and South (1954-2006)," in David Shreve, ed., A More Perfect Union: Governors and American Public Policy, 1901-2008, (University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming in 2008).
Awards: Sokol is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
There Goes My Everything selected as one of the 10 best books of 2006, Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World;
James Kettner Graduate Prize, For best dissertation, UC-Berkeley History Dept., 2006;
Jacob K. Javits Fellow, 2001-2005;
Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, UC-Berkeley, 2003;
Heller Grant, UC-Berkeley History Department, 2003;
Phi Beta Kappa and Highest Honors in History, Oberlin College, 1999;
Comfort Starr Prize, For excellence in history, Oberlin College, 1999;
George and Carrie Life Fund, For excellence in American history, Oberlin College, 1999;
Michael Magdoff Award, For best paper on civil rights in the U.S., Oberlin College, 1999;
Christopher Dahl Prize, For best essay in Philosophy, Oberlin College, 1998 and 1999;
Nancy Rhoden Prize, For best essay in Ethics, Oberlin College, 1998.
In 2005 Sokol served as a Non-Resident Fellow at Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute. In that capacity, he worked on assorted television projects dealing with African- American History.
Sokol has appeared on the following Radio broadcasts; Weekend All Things Considered (NPR), Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC), Michaelangelo Signorile Show (Sirius), John Batchelor Show (ABC), Morning Edition (WMOT Nashville), Afternoon Magazine (WILL Urbana), Morning Show (WAOK Atlanta), Local All Things Considered (WFCR Amherst), Jon Rothman Show (KGO San Francisco), Alvin Jones Show (WCBQ Raleigh), Paul Edwards Program (WLQV Detroit), and has also appeared on Book TV (C-Span 2).
Additionally Sokol has a background in journaliam having worked as Editorial Intern, The Nation, New York, NY, Fall-Winter, 1999; Intern, New Haven Advocate, New Haven, CT, Summer 1998; and as a Staff Writer/Intern, Springfield Union-News, Springfield, MA, Summer 1995, Summer 1997.
In April 2001, Berkeley faculty members and graduate students strapped on their sneakers, goggles, and knee braces and hit the basketball court. I am proud to say that I co-founded the"Historians' Classic," and prouder still that the tradition persisted after I left the Bay Area. Days before the inaugural game, rumors flew about which historians would display their skills. Arguments flared over how to even out the teams. The event ultimately drew together professors from various fields - Waldo Martin, Jon Gjerde, Margaret Chowning, Peter Zinoman, and Bill Taylor among them - along with a gaggle of graduate students. After I passed along the leadership torch, the quality of the post-game barbecue improved - and so did the t-shirts. Because of the Classic, I now own a shirt that depicts Abraham Lincoln blocking George Washington's shot.
The whole idea was to lure historians out of their offices and into the Berkeley sunshine - to foster some departmental spirit and celebrate the school year's end. One other goal was just as plain. In organizing a basketball game among professional historians, I was attempting, however lamely, to join the wildest of my childhood fantasies with a fast approaching future.
I doubt very many of us can state that our original dream was to become a historian. Mine certainly was not; I wanted to be a basketball player. My hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts may possess several problems endemic to small Northeastern cities - poverty, a loss of jobs, escalating crime and racial tension - but it will always boast the Basketball Hall of Fame. My friends and I trumpeted that fact with both mockery and pride. In retrospect, I think that my childhood in Springfield's well-integrated schools - and basketball courts - sparked my interest in America?s racial past.
I am five-feet eight-inches tall (on a good day), and I did not confront the implications of this reality until early in high school. Even in college, I played briefly for Oberlin's basketball team. We won just a single game during my senior year. I warmed the bench for the worst team in the conference. I attended classes and practice by day, and wrote my honors thesis in the evening. As one career dream finally faded, another displaced it. I hurled myself into my new passion, and I feel as though I only recently came up for air.
The civil rights movement long captivated me with tales of inspiring heroes, austere racists, and prodigious feats. Entering graduate school, I assumed I would write a dissertation on one more local struggle or another unknown individual. But ultimately, I sought to craft a study that would rethink the black freedom struggle in light of its interracial impact and its influence on everyday life. I believed that only this added perspective enabled us to see the civil rights movement for the wide-ranging social and political revolution that it was. I explored how the plights of whites and blacks informed one another, and found the heart of the story in the tensions and ambiguities on both sides.
When I talked before southern audiences about my book, many inquired why someone with my background would write on white southerners. I explained that I had a deep interest in how race shaped politics and society, and that the history of the South was so rich in this area. I felt a deep connection to these southern stories. I also knew that they were national stories, not simply regional ones. And in the back of my mind, I always wanted to learn more about race and politics in the North ? to understand my own roots, as well.
My next project will begin in Massachusetts, whose voters elected Ed Brooke to the Senate in 1966. During that campaign, many white citizens (and 97 percent of the Bay State was white) pictured their politics as somehow beyond race. Of course, the Boston busing crisis of the 1970s soon exposed the opposite truth. In the years since, Massachusetts politicians have come to embody all of American liberalism's perceived faults - just as many of the Bay State's mid-sized cities, like Springfield, have struggled through the underside of the"urban crisis." From 1991 to 2006, this famously liberal bastion elected Republican governors. Deval Patrick now graces Beacon Hill. He holds the hopes of Northeastern liberals and African-Americans alike. This saga blends political history, urban history, and civil rights - and in a very real way, this history is my own.
While it is true that I never really aspired to become a scholar when I was younger, I think that all of us -- at some point -- decide to become historians. In the end, we all want to know where we come from.
By Jason Sokol
Most white southerners identified neither with the civil rights movement nor its violent resisters. They were fearful, silent, and often inert. The age of civil rights looked different through their eyes. Few white southerners ever forgot the day they first addressed blacks as"Mr." or"Mrs."; the times their maids showed up to work, suddenly shorn of the old deference; the day they dined in the same establishments as black people; the process by which their workplaces became integrated; the autumn a black man appeared on the ballot; or the morning white children attended school with black pupils. Taken together, these changes amounted to a revolution in a way of life.
Experiences overwhelmed words, events swallowed ideas, and a whole society struggled to catch up with the civil rights movement's rapid march. Some white southerners embraced the novel aspects of this world; others refused to accept the nascent social order; still more walked gingerly across its threshold. Jason Sokol in"There Goes My Everything: White Southerners in the Age of Civil Rights, 1945-1975"
About Jason Sokol