Foreign Policy Seminar

10/7 – “The Texas Gun Frontier and the Travails of Mexican History”

Please join us for the first Fall 2016 Foreign Policy Seminar!

Brian DeLay
Associate Professor of History
University of California, Berkeley

“The Texas Gun Frontier and the Travails of Mexican History”

Friday, October 7 – 4:30pm
Wood Hall, Basement Lounge
“At the height of Mexico’s drug war, many Americans were shocked to learn that there were three licensed U.S. arms dealers in the borderlands for each mile of border, and that these enterprising merchants helped to illegally send about a quarter million guns into Mexico each year. But this was no new phenomenon; U.S. arms exports have been destabilizing Mexican politics for two centuries.
In “The Texas Gun Frontier and the Travails of Mexican History,” historian Brian DeLay will explain how the borderland trade in guns and ammunition shaped Mexico’s tumultuous first century, from its independence war in the 1810s through its Revolution one hundred years later.”
About Prof. DeLay:
Brian DeLay received his PhD from Harvard University in 2004. DeLay’s 2008 book, War of a Thousand Deserts: Indian Raids and the U.S.-Mexican War (Yale University Press), won prizes from several different scholarly organizations. He has served as a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer, and has received fellowships from the ACLS, the American Philosophical Society, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and other organizations. He is the editor of North American Borderlands (Routledge, 2012), and is now at work on a monograph titled “Shoot the State: Arms, Capitalism, and Freedom in the Americas Before Gun Control,” under contract with W.W. Norton.

“A Mongrel-American Social Science: International Relations” – 2/26

Dr. Robert Vitalis, Political Science Dept., University of PennsylvaniaPlease join us for the Spring 2016 Foreign Policy Seminar, featuring

Robert Vitalis

Professor, University of Pennsylvania


About Professor Vitalis:

Vitalis received his Ph.D. in political science from MIT in 1989. His graduate work included a three-year residence in Cairo where he studied Arabic and researched the political strategies of Egyptian business firms. His first book, When Capitalists Collide: Business Conflict and the End of Empire in Egypt, was published in 1995.  The Organization of American Historians awarded him the Bernath Prize in 1996 for his work on Egypt’s political economy.

He has continued to develop and expand the scope of his interests in historical comparative analysis in his second book, America’s Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier, which was published in October 2006 by Stanford University Press, and named a book of the year in the London Guardian.

Recent honors include fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center (2009), the Rockefeller Foundation (2003), the International Center for Advanced Study, NYU (2002), and the American Council of Learned Societies (2002). He was a MacArthur Award nominee in 1998.

His new book project, White World Order, Black Power Politics: the Birth of American International Relations (Cornell University Press, 2015), moves away from the Middle East to explore the unwritten history of disciplinary international relations and to recover the African-American internationalist tradition.

Foreign Policy Seminar Series Celebrates 30 Years

The Foreign Policy Seminar Series here at the University of Connecticut has established a long, successful history of more than 30 years.

“This series puts UConn on the map for foreign policy education, which is something nice to have other than basketball,” said Prof. Frank Costigliola, who has been running the series since 1997.

Authors, professors, diplomats, historians, and political scientists come from around the country to speak here in Storrs, mostly to graduate students and faculty.

“Through having all these distinguished speakers travel to us has made UConn a regional foreign relation hub,” said Costigliola, who attended the first seminar in 1985 while he was a professor at the University of Rhode Island.

The purpose of these seminars is for history graduate students to build connections with professional members in the field, but also provides book authors an opportunity for feedback from the attending audience.

“Intellectual life needs to always circulate with new perspectives on history, and I believe we have a successful formula for doing so – a quality experience that’s easy to understand and gets great feedback,” said Costigliola.

Thomas G. Patterson, Costigliola’s predecessor, first started the lecture series by bringing in Arnold A. Offner to speak on Vice President Hubert Humphrey and ever since then the series has continued to be successful.

For the 30th anniversary in November, Costigliola invited Offner back to discuss Harry Truman’s foreign policy with the students, which went over very well.

Gwendolyn Hay, a history graduate student who regularly attends the seminars, greatly appreciates the opportunity to learn from such distinguished figures.

“Going to the lectures has been my favorite part of the graduate experience because there is so much to learn from these individuals,” said Hay.

11/13 – Arnold Offner, Guest Speaker for 30th Anniversary of the Foreign Policy Seminar series

Professor Arnold Offner, Lafayette CollegePlease join us for the 30th anniversary of the first Foreign Policy Seminar series!

Guest speaker: Arnold Offner (Lafayette College, Cornelia F. Hugel Professor of History, Emeritus) Professor Offner was the speaker at the first Foreign Policy Seminar series.

“The Great Betrayal: Humphrey, Johnson, and the 1968 Election”

Reception at 4:30pm, lecture at 5pm. A buffet dinner follows: $12 for students, $20 for all others. To sign up for dinner, please contact Professor Frank Costigliola (

The event will be held in the Wood Hall Basement Lounge.

Professor Offner’s areas of expertise include the history of U.S. foreign policy, 20th century international relations, and American political history.

Professor Offner is the author of Another Such Victory: President Truman and the Cold War, 1945-1953, published in 2002; The Origins of the Second World War: American Foreign Policy and World Politics, 1917-1941, published in 1975; and American Appeasement: United States Foreign Policy and Germany, 1933-1938, which was published in 1969 and received the Phi Alpha Theta National Book Award.

Professor Offner is also the co-editor, with Theodore A. Wilson, of Victory in Europe 1945: From World War to Cold War, published in 2000. The past president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, he served on the editorial board of the society’s journal, Diplomatic History.


9/25 – Ryan Irwin, Guest Speaker for Foreign Policy Seminar Fall series

Professor Ryan Irwin, Indiana UniversityPlease join us for the first Foreign Policy Seminar of Fall 2015!

Guest speaker: Ryan Irwin (SUNY-Albany)

“Creating a Liberal World: Rethinking the Cold War’s Origins”

Reception at 4:30, lecture at 5pm. A buffet follows: $12 for students, $20 for all others. To sign up for dinner, please contact Professor Frank Costigliola (

The event will be held in the Wood Hall Basement Lounge.

About Dr. Irwin: “My scholarship explores the historical relationship between globalization and decolonization. Although I write specifically about the changing mechanics and shifting perceptions of American global power, my interests cover comparative imperialism, international institutions, nonstate activism, and technological development.

My first book, Gordian Knot: Apartheid and the Unmaking of the Liberal World Order, investigated the way small, non-European nation-states altered the international system at the height of the Cold War.  I’m working now on an intellectual history of the mid-1970s, as well as a political history about the growth and transformation of the nation-state during the mid-twentieth century.”