History, Department of


Date of this Version



2011 Author(s)


Passport September 2011


Let me show my cards. I am partially responsible for this interchange, since I had the pleasure of chairing the program committee for the 2010 OAH annual meeting and organizing the plenary session on “The United States and the World” at which Matt Connelly first delivered this paper. I invited him because I knew he would be insightful and I hoped he would be provocative. The audience and I were not disappointed on either count. I have been an enthusiastic (though not uncritical1) fan of Matt’s work for a long time.

I am a bit older than Matt and have watched the same changes he describes. I began graduate school in the 1980s at Duke University, when there were still two diplomatic historians in that department, Bill Scott (a Europeanist) and Calvin Davis (an Americanist).2 After their retirements, neither was replaced. Social history dominated the landscape, with cultural history sweeping up fast behind it. Duke kept its position in military history, at least, thereby blunting some of the decidedly appropriate criticism of declining attention to diplomatic history, in a nation of unusual international influence and repeated military engagements abroad.

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