Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations 1
Brian M. Linn, Texas A&M University and president, Society for Military History
Phyllis L. Soybel, College of Lake County
Thomas W. Zeiler, University of Colorado Boulder
The two fields of military history and the history of U.S. foreign relations (diplomatic history) have long shared interests, scholars, and students. Both have also shared an unfortunate image problem in the historical profession, that of being outmoded dinosaurs that produce scholarship outside the mainstream of social, cultural, and new political history. This panel – sponsored by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) and the Society for Military History (SMH) - seeks not a self-defensive look at both fields but to highlight the exciting new trends shaping the work of scholars and students, including the cultural turn and internationalization/transnationalization. Both have featured historiographical articles in recent issues of the Journal of American History, and both continue to attract researchers. In fact, we will argue that both fields are critical and essential to the study of history and are trend-setters in their own right. To do so, the panel enlists an experienced and innovative group of scholars familiar, and practicing, cutting-edge research. Among the five panelists (each speaking for 15 minutes) in this roundtable are two former presidents of their organizations (Mark Stoler, who will chair, and a past President of SHAFR) and Brian Linn, 2010-11 President of SMH. Professor Linn and Tom Zeiler, 2012 President of SHAFR, will provide overviews of their respective fields, historiographical contexts, and comparisons to each other. Two young scholars, Jennifer Keene of SMH and Phyllis Soybel of SHAFR, will then offer examples of their own work on the new military and diplomatic histories, speak to trends in social and cultural history, and show how they cross field boundaries. Their paper descriptions are included. Professor Stoler, who has had a distinguished career in both fields, will offer commentary, and then the panel will exchange views between themselves and the audience.