The Myth of American Isolationism – A Centre Talk by Prof. Kristin Hoganson – This Wed.

The Heartland Myth Revisited

American Isolationism as Seen through the Most Local of Places

The Centre for Imperial & Global History is delighted to announce

a talk by

Professor Kristin Hoganson
Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History
Oxford University


When: Wed. Jan. 13, 4-5:30 pm

Where: Amory 239AB, University of Exeter

Abstract: This talk reconsiders the myth of American isolationism by tackling some of the place-based assumptions upon which it rests.  In opposition to those who have pinned the isolationist label to the rural Midwest, Hoganson explores hidden histories of connection that stitched this seemingly most local of places to the wider world in the seemingly most local of times — the long nineteenth century.  Though attention to such topics as indigenous diasporas, bioprospecting, animal breeding, consular representation, meterological congresses, scientific agriculture, Malthusian discourse, and international students, this paper brings multiple forms of alliance politics to light.  In so doing, it makes a case for a different kind of local history and a different sense of region, attuned not only to affiliative impulses but also to the exclusionary politics of empire.

Kristin Hoganson is Professor of History and Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the 2015-16 Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at Oxford University. Her research interests lie in placing the United States in world context, cultures of U.S. imperialism, and women’s and gender history. She is the author of Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars (Yale UP, 1998) and Consumers’ Imperium: The Global Production of American Domesticity, 1865-1920 (UNC Press, 2007). Her current research focuses on the local history of the U.S. heartland: Once Upon a Place: The U.S. Heartland Between Security and Empire (Penguin Press, forthcoming).

Playing Umpire: America and the World

Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman-1Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
Dwight E. Stanford Chair in U.S. Foreign Relations, San Diego State University, & Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Why does international turmoil so often raise the question at home and abroad, “What’s the United States going to do about it?” Why not Mexico, Iran, France, or Switzerland?

Observers of today’s world are confronted by the fact that the U.S. exercises an unusual function as the nation with the greatest—yet, nonetheless, very limited—power to determine outcomes in foreign conflicts. This influence raises important questions. Why does any country play such a role, and who appointed the United States? Is America an exploitative empire that holds other nations in thrall, as many revisionists believe, or a benign hegemon that prevents the world from spiraling into violence and poverty, as realists do? And, are these the only two possible answers? Continue reading “Playing Umpire: America and the World”