Session Proposal For The 2011 AHA Annual Meeting
January 6-9, 2011
Type of Session: Roundtable
Title of Session: Beyond Diplomatic History: Alternate Avenues of Research within the
Foreign Relations of the United States Series.
Session Overview: In 2011, the Department of State’s Office of the Historian seeks to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series and to broaden the series’ readership. To that end, the Office of the Historian is proposing a panel which will highlight some of the ways historians from across the spectrum, not just diplomatic historians, can find FRUS an enlightening research mechanism. While well known and used by foreign relations historians around the world for 150 years, scholars outside of traditional diplomatic history circles are now beginning to mine FRUS volumes in ever larger numbers. The FRUS series has added immeasurable documentation to studies dealing with race, gender, class, power structures, economics, and society in general, within both international and domestic realms.
This roundtable panel will seek to usher in the series’ 150th anniversary by introducing, explaining, and analyzing its potential as much more than just strictly a source for diplomatic historians. This panel will demonstrate that the FRUS series offers a new and rich source of research for historians across the breadth of disciplines, methodologies, and specialties. A number of prominent scholars will discuss the ways in which the FRUS series can enrich studies dealing with race, gender, class, society, immigration, and religion among others. Discussion will focus on how the series can offer new insights into many “sacred” spaces, such as race, the formation of racial discourse, civil rights, gender roles, gendered discourse, domestic issues of class, and the importance of domestic societal structure in many cases. Panel members will offer insights into how studying U.S. policymakers’ outlooks on religion in other nations can provide insight into how religion and spirituality were viewed within the United States as well. Researching within the series can also offer historians pertinent information on domestic politics, as well as political situations in their countries of interest. It is the hope of this panel that examples such as these will lead to a vibrant discussion of new ways to analyze and use the Foreign Relations of the United States series that goes beyond diplomatic history and bears fruit for all historians.