Marilyn Blatt Young Dissertation Completion Fellowship

SHAFR invites applications for its dissertation completion fellowship. SHAFR will make two, year-long awards, in the amount of $25,000 each, to support the writing and completion of the doctoral dissertation in each academic year. These highly competitive fellowships will support the most promising doctoral candidates in the final phase of completing their dissertations. SHAFR membership is required. Applicants should be candidates for the PhD in a humanities or social science doctoral program (most likely history), must have been admitted to candidacy, and must be at the writing stage, with all substantial research completed by the time of the award. Applicants should be working on a topic in the field of U.S. foreign relations history or international history, broadly defined, and must be current members of SHAFR. Because successful applicants are expected to finish writing the dissertation during the tenure of the fellowship, they should not engage in teaching opportunities or extensive paid work, except at the discretion of the Fellowship Committee. At the termination of the award period, recipients must provide a one page (250-word) report to the SHAFR Council on the use of the fellowship, to be considered for publication in the society newsletter. The submission packet should include:

  • A one page application letter describing the project’s significance, the applicant’s status, other support received or applied for and the prospects for completion within the year.
  • A three page statement of the research
  • A curriculum vitae
  • A letter of recommendation from the primary doctoral advisor.

The research statement should run no longer than three double-spaced pages; statements exceeding this limit will not be reviewed. The letter may be single-spaced. Both the letter and statement should be formatted with 1-inch margins and 12 point font, Times New Roman preferred.

To apply, please use the online application located below, which will appears when applications are being accepted. Questions can be sent by electronic mail to [email protected]. The annual deadline for submissions is 1 April. Fellowship awards will be decided by around May 1 and will be announced formally during the SHAFR annual meeting in June, with expenditure to be administered during the subsequent academic year.

Recent Winners:

2016
Patrick Chung, Brown University

The story of U.S. industrial jobs moving overseas is well known. But Patrick Chung, of Brown University, puts this transnational phenomenon in an appropriately global context by writing a twinned history of industry in the United States and South Korea. Chung identifies the U.S. military as the key broker, not only through its purchase orders but through its imposition of U.S. industrial standards on South Korea, which then allowed for the easy establishment of transnational supply chains. Korea appears here not just as a central arena of the Cold War, but as a proving ground for late twentieth-century capitalism. With a multi-sited, multi-lingual study stretching from the 1950s to the 2000s, Chung is writing nothing less than the history of globalization.

James Lin, University of California, Berkeley

James Lin, of the University of California, Berkeley, is writing the next chapter in the growing history of international development. It is the story of developmentalist thought and policy, not as seen from the United States, but as seen from China and then, after the revolution, Taiwan. Lin reaches back into the interwar period and identifies the specter of Chinese famine as one of the first significant development problems of the twentieth century, and shows the odd assortment of figures—missionaries, civil engineers, plant breeders—who arrived to solve it. Lin then considers Taiwan as not just a recipient but also a broadcaster of development, and explores how U.S. strategies were selectively adapted, modified, and recombined by Taiwanese intellectuals and then exported throughout Asia, Latin America, and Africa in the 1960s. This is history full of surprises, with much to teach the field.

2015
Carly Goodman, Temple University

Carly Goodman is staking out new territory with this innovative dissertation; chronologically, she is writing a contemporary history that examines the U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery from 1990 to present. Her project also brings together public diplomacy, immigration, globalization, and the history of U.S. foreign relations. Her dissertation will reveal the unintended consequences of U.S. policy – both in how it how it changed perceptions of the United States in sub-Saharan Africa and its role in keeping the “American dream” remains alive for many Africans. Her work also contributes to a growing literature on the influence of nonstate actors on U.S. foreign relations, examining the understudied contributions of African-based travel agents and Internet café workers to shaping U.S. immigration policy.

Eric Rutkow, Yale University

In the past years, SHAFR members have produced a number of high-quality works on the infrastructure of U.S. power. Eric Rutkow promises to continue that trend with his fascinating study of the Pan-American Highway, the largest international development project that the United States undertook in the interwar period. The project is self-evidently important, with much to contribute to the field. But the committee was also struck by the conceptual clarity and writerly grace of Rutkow’s presentation. We thus look forward not only to what will surely be a significant dissertation but, beyond that, to what we anticipate will be a successful and enjoyable book. 

2014
Kyle Burke, Northwestern Universty

Kyle Burke's dissertation explores the connection between politically conservative and wealthy individuals, right-wing organizations, and anti-communist guerrillas in the Third World during the 1970s and 1980s. Picking up on a theme usually associated with John Foster Dulles, at least rhetorically, Burke examines the effort to roll back communist gains through paramilitary warfare in Southern Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Burke connects these activities to to the rise of private companies involved in the business of conducting wars. Inventive, engaging, and highly relevant to current issues in American foreign policy, Burke's dissertation promises to make critical connections between retired military and intelligence officers with international groups and paramilitary forces in countries ranging from Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador to Angola as well as Laos and Cambodia.

Julia Mansfield, Stanford University

Yellow fever in the Early Republic is not the sort of topic that one might immediately classify under foreign relations, but Julia Mansfield ably demonstrates its relevance. Like the best emerging studies of the United States and the world, Mansfield’s dissertation promises to take an episode familiar within the national history of the United States and reveal its international characteristics. In this case, the contagion touched on the key issue of foreign commerce and served as an occasion for U.S. leaders to reflect on the relationship between their country and the external world. The committee was struck by the clarity and confidence of Mansfield’s presentation as well as by the novelty and significance of her topic. This is a dissertation with much to contribute to the field.

2013 
Seth Anziska, Columbia University
Michelle Reeves, University of Texas

2012
Sara Fieldston, Yale University
David Wight, University of California, Irvine

2011
Shannon Fitzpatrick, University of California, Irvine
Victor V. Nemchenok, University of Virginia

2010
Hajimu Masuda, Cornell University
Sudina Paungpetch, Texas A&M University

2009
Ryan Irwin, Ohio State University
Mara Drogan, State University of New York, Albany

2008
Min Song, University of Georgia
Vanessa Mongey, University of Pennsylvania


Online Application

The application form will appear once applications are being accepted again in 2018.