In the first H-Diplo publication for the 2014-2015 academic year, Erez Manela discusses Brad Simpson's Bernath Lecture on "The United States and the Curious History of Self-Determination," published in September 2012. Manela writes that
As Simpson argues, it will not do to dismiss U.S. advocacy of self-determination as mere hypocrisy, a sonorous principle that Washington trotted out when convenient and cast aside when not. Rather, he wants us recognize and grapple with its centrality to Americans’ self-perception about who they are and what they stand for in the world. How, then, do we make sense more fully of Washington’s record, spotty at best, in upholding the principle of self-determination around the world? The answer will presumably be central to Simpson’s forthcoming book on the subject. In the meantime, one way to think about the strange career of self-determination is as part of a conflict of visions within the U.S. foreign policy elite. Both visions, it should be said, aim to build and perpetuate U.S. hegemony within international society, but they differ on the means by which this should be achieved.
The Stuart L. Bernath Lecture Prize recognizes and encourages excellence in teaching and research in the field of foreign relations by younger scholars. The winner of the prize delivers a lecture during the SHAFR luncheon at the next year's AHA annual meeting, which is subsequently published in Diplomatic History.