Thursday, January 26, 2023

Congratulations to Miller Center Professor Marc J. Selverstone on his recently published book, The Kennedy Withdrawal: Camelot and the American Commitment to Vietnam (Havard University Press 2022) 


The book can be found here:


A major revision of our understanding of JFK’s commitment to Vietnam, revealing that his administration’s plan to withdraw was a political device, the effect of which was to manage public opinion while preserving United States military assistance.

In October 1963, the White House publicly proposed the removal of United States troops from Vietnam, earning President Kennedy an enduring reputation as a skeptic on the war. In fact, Kennedy was ambivalent about withdrawal and was largely detached from its planning. Drawing on secret presidential tapes, Marc J. Selverstone reveals that the withdrawal statement gave Kennedy political cover, allowing him to sustain support for U.S. military assistance. Its details were the handiwork of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, whose ownership of the plan distanced it from the president.

Selverstone’s use of the presidential tapes, alongside declassified documents, memoirs, and oral histories, lifts the veil on this legend of Camelot. Withdrawal planning was never just about Vietnam as it evolved over the course of fifteen months. For McNamara, it injected greater discipline into the U.S. assistance program. For others, it was a form of leverage over South Vietnam. For the military, it was largely an unwelcome exercise. And for JFK, it allowed him to preserve the U.S. commitment while ostensibly limiting it.

The Kennedy Withdrawal offers an inside look at presidential decisionmaking in this liminal period of the Vietnam War and makes clear that portrayals of Kennedy as a dove are overdrawn. His proposed withdrawal was in fact a cagey strategy for keeping the United States involved in the fight—a strategy the country adopted decades later in Afghanistan.


Thursday, January 26, 2023

In a recently published Washington Post "Made By History" article, Bethany Bell (Graduate MA student) explains the role of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in school curriculums. Bell draws connections between UCD and the Florida Governor's recent announcement of the state's rejection of the new AP African American Studies course.

Read article here:

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Congratulations to Professor Cong Ellen Zhang the recently published co-edited and co-translated volume,Chinese Autobiographical Writing: An Anthology of Personal Accounts (Patricia Ebrey, Cong Ellen Zhang, and Ping Yao; University of Washington Press, 2023).


Personal accounts help us understand notions of self, interpersonal relations, and historical events. Chinese Autobiographical Writing contains full translations of works by fifty individuals that illuminate the history and conventions of writing about oneself in the Chinese tradition. From poetry, letters, and diaries to statements in legal proceedings, these engaging and readable works draw us into the past and provide vivid details of life as it was lived from the pre-imperial period to the nineteenth century. Some focus on a person’s entire life, others on a specific moment. Some have an element of humor, others are entirely serious. Taken together, these selections offer an intimate view of how Chinese men and women, both famous and obscure, reflected on their experiences as well as their personal struggles and innermost thoughts.

With an introduction and list of additional readings for each selection, this volume is ideal for undergraduate courses on Chinese history, literature, religion, and women and family. Read individually, each piece illuminates a person, place, and moment. Read in chronological order, they highlight cultural change over time by showing how people explored new ways to represent themselves in writing.

The open access publication of this book was made possible by a grant from the James P. Geiss and Margaret Y. Hsu Foundation.

Link to the book:

Monday, January 23, 2023

Congratulations to Kyrill Kunakhovich on his recently published book, Communism's Public Sphere: Culture as Politics in Cold War Poland and East Germany! 

The book can be found here.

Please see the book description below:

Communism's Public Sphere explores the political role of cultural spaces in the Eastern Bloc. Under communist regimes that banned free speech, political discussions shifted to spaces of art: theaters, galleries, concert halls, and youth clubs. Kyrill Kunakhovich shows how these venues turned into sites of dialogue and contestation. While officials used them to spread the communist message, artists and audiences often flouted state policy and championed alternative visions. Cultural spaces therefore came to function as a public sphere, or a rare outlet for discussing public affairs.

Focusing on Kraków in Poland and Leipzig in East Germany, Communism's Public Sphere sheds new light on state-society interactions in the Eastern Bloc. In place of the familiar trope of domination and resistance, it highlights unexpected symbioses like state-sponsored rock and roll, socialist consumerism, and sanctioned dissent. 

By examining nearly five decades of communist rule, from the Red Army's arrival in Poland in 1944 to German reunification in 1990, Kunakhovich argues that cultural spaces played a pivotal mediating role. They helped reform and stabilize East European communism but also gave cover to the protest movements that ultimately brought it down.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Professor James Loeffler recently published an article entitled, "The Religions of Human Rights" in Harvard Theological Review. The article can be found here:



The modern human rights movement arose during a moment of unprecedented encounter between global religions in the mid-twentieth century. Yet attempts to parse the historical relationship between human rights and religious thought have almost exclusively taken the form of case studies of individual religious traditions. This focus on intellectual genealogies obscures the fact that much of human rights doctrine emerged from interreligious contacts and conflicts between Judaism and Christianity, particularly in the context of the decolonizing Middle East. This article retraces this interreligious encounter through the writings of Amnesty International founder Peter Benenson, diplomat and theologian Charles Malik, and rabbi and activist Maurice Perlzweig. Together they represent three different theopolitical responses to the problem of religious pluralism after global empire: minoritarian human rights, majoritarian human rights, and cosmopolitan human rights. Recovering these interrelated human rights conceptions exposes the frames of religious difference embedded in the modern Western human rights imagination.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Congratulations to Professor Chris Gratien who is a Middle East Studies Association 2022 Nikki Keddie Book Award Co-Winner for The Unsettled Plain: An Environmental History of the Late Ottoman Frontier!


Check out the book here:

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Congratulations to Professor J.E. Lendon whose book, That Tyrant, Persuasion: How Rhetoric Shaped the Roman World was chosen by Brian Vickers as a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year!

Read article here:


Pulled Quote: “That Tyrant, Persuasion. . . breaks new ground by tracing the influence of rhetoric on public life. . . . drawing on vast erudition, Lendon writes beautifully. He deserves to be widely read.”—Brian Vickers, Times Literary Supplement

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Professor Olivier Zunz was awarded the Grand Prix de la Biographie Politique for the French edition of The Man Who Understood Democracy: The Life of Alexis de Tocqueville, Tocqueville: L’homme qui comprit la démocratie (Fayard 2022). Congratulations Professor Zunz!

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Professor Philip Zelikow was recently quoted in two articles this week! Check out the Wall Street Journal article, "U.S. Releases 9/11 Commission Interview With George W. Bush, Dick Cheney." Also, read Zelikow's commentary in the cover story of the New York Times Sunday opinion section, "America Can Have Democracy or Political Violence. Not Both."

Thursday, November 10, 2022

My New Favorite Futbolista podcast recently featured Professor Laurent Dubois in a discussion about combating racism in soccer. This episode focused on professional soccer player Chris Richards and how he "is using his platform to fight racism in soccer."

Listen here:

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Congratulations to Lauren Haumesser (UVA PhD 2018) on the publication of her book, The Democratic Collapse: How Gender Politics Broke a Party and a Nation 1856-1861!

Thursday, October 27, 2022

In a new Washington Post "Made By History" article, Professor Justene Hill Edwards discusses the 7th annual Freedman's Bank Forum, how the forum has obscured the bank's history, and how the history of the Freedman's Bank "highlights flaws in using public-private partnerships to address racial inequality."

Read the article here:

Monday, September 26, 2022

Professor John Edwin Mason has directed the Holsinger Studio Portrait Project since 2015, and says the project aims to transform the way people see Black history. The research done on these portraits has helped tell a more complete story of African American history in Charlottesville, and it has helped descendants in the Charlottesville and UVA community better understand their personal history.

Read more about the project here: Portrait Project Opens Windows on Black Citizens and Connections to Descendants


Thursday, October 6, 2022

Professor John Edwin Mason was featured in The Washington Post for his work as the director of the Holsinger Portrait Project and new exhibit, "Visions of Progress: Portraits of Dignity, Style and Racial Uplift" which features portrait photographs of Black Virginians in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The exhibit is on display now at the University of Virginia Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library through September 2023. 

Learn more about the story here, Revolutionary Black portrait exhibition opens at UVA.





Friday, September 9, 2022

Congratulations to Professor S. Deborah Kang for being appointed to the Organization of American Historians (OAH) Distinguished Lectureship Program!

Learn more about the fellows and their work

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Congratulations to Doctoral Candidates Justin Winokur and Matt Frakes for being named 2022-2023 National Security Policy Center Fellows. This fellowship is a part of the National Security Policy Center at the UVA Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. 

View fellows page here:

Monday, August 29, 2022

Congratulations to Professor Corinne T. Field on the publication of her co-edited volume with Univ. of Michigan Prof LaKisha Michelle Simmons. The Global History of Black Girlhood “explores the many ways scholars, artists, and activists think and write about Black girls' pasts.”

The Global History of Black Girlhood boldly claims that Black girls are so important we should know their histories. Yet, how do we find the stories and materials we need to hear Black girls’ voices and understand their lives? Corinne T. Field and LaKisha Michelle Simmons edit a collection of writings that explores the many ways scholars, artists, and activists think and write about Black girls' pasts. The contributors engage in interdisciplinary conversations that consider what it means to be a girl; the meaning of Blackness when seen from the perspectives of girls in different times and places; and the ways Black girls have imagined themselves as part of a global African diaspora.

Thought-provoking and original, The Global History of Black Girlhood opens up new possibilities for understanding Black girls in the past while offering useful tools for present-day Black girls eager to explore the histories of those who came before them.

Contributors: Janaé E. Bonsu, Ruth Nicole Brown, Tara Bynum, Casidy Campbell, Katherine Capshaw, Bev Palesa Ditsie, Sarah Duff, Cynthia Greenlee, Claudrena Harold, Anasa Hicks, Lindsey Jones, Phindile Kunene, Denise Oliver-Velez, Jennifer Palmer, Vanessa Plumly, Shani Roper, SA Smythe, Nastassja Swift, Dara Walker, Najya Williams, and Nazera Wright


Monday, August 29, 2022

Congratulations to Professor Neeti Nair on editing a special issue of Asian Affairs. The papers in the special issue were first presented at a conference cohosted by UVAs Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures and the Royal Society for Asian Affairs.

The issue is available online here:



Monday, July 25, 2022

In his new "Made By History" article, Stefan Lund (UVA PhD 2022) discusses the history of mob violence in the United States and how "mob violence undermines the core principles of American government." Stefan Lund is currently a postdoctoral fellow at UVA's Nau Center for Civil War History.

Read article here:

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Professor Cynthia Nicoletti has won the George and Ann Richards Prize for the best article published in The Journal of the Civil War Era in 2021. Her article, "William Henry Trescott: Pardon Broker,” appeared in the December 2021 issue. Professor Nicoletti is a legal historian and professor of law at the University of Virginia’s School of Law and an affiliated faculty in the Corcoran Department of History. 

View award announcement here: