Bradley Simpson

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies

Ph.D., Northwestern

Areas of Specialty

US foreign relations, Southeast Asian History, International History, Development, Human Rights

Current Research Interests

History of Self-Determination, 1941-1991; US-Indonesian relations 1965-1998


I teach and research twentieth century U.S. foreign relations and international history, and have an interest in US-southeast relations, political economy, human rights and development. My first book, Economists with Guns: Authoritarian Development and U.S.-Indonesian Relations, 1960-1968 (Stanford 2008) explores the intersection of anti-Communism and development thinking in shaping U.S. Indonesian relations.

Currently I am researching a global history of self-determination, exploring its political, cultural and legal descent through post 1945 US foreign relations and international politics. I hope to use the contested history of self-determination claims to re-think contemporary notions of human rights, sovereignty and international order as they intersected with the processes of decolonization, Cold War conflict and globalization.

I’m also founder and director of a project at the non-profit National Security Archive to declassify U.S. government documents concerning Indonesia and East Timor during the reign of General Suharto (1966-1998). This project will serve as the basis for a study of U.S.-Indonesian-international relations from 1965 to 1999, exploring how the international community’s embrace of an authoritarian regime in Indonesia shaped development, civil-military relations, human rights and Islamic politics.

Recent essays and reviews of mine are in International History ReviewCold War HistoryReviews in American HistoryDiplomatic HistoryThe Journal of Interdisciplinary HistoryCritical Asian Studies, and Peace and Change. I was featured in the recent Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio documentary Accomplices in Atrocity; The Indonesian Killings of 1965.



The First Right: Self-Determination and the Transformation of post-1941 International Relations (Book manuscript in progress. Under contract with Oxford University Press.)

Indonesia’s New Order, the U.S., and the World Community, 1966-1998 (Book manuscript in progress. Under contract with Cornell University Press, United States in the World Series, edited by Mark Bradley and Paul Kramer.)

Co-Editor with Jean Quataert, The Routledge History of Human Rights (Edited collection in progress, under contract with Routledge Press.)

Peer Reviewed Articles

“The Biafran War, Secession, and the Limits of Self-Determination,” Special issue of The Journal of Genocide Studies (forthcoming, 2013).

“The United States and the Curious Descent of Self-Determination,” Diplomatic History 36:4 (September, 2012), 675–694.

“Self-Determination, the End of Empire and the Fragmented Discourse of Human Rights in the 1970s,” Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development (forthcoming, 2013).

“Denying the ‘First Right’: The United States, Indonesia, and the Ranking of Human Rights by the Carter Administration, 1976-1980,” International History Review XXXI, 4 (December 2009), 798-826.

“Indonesia’s ‘Accelerated Modernization’ and the global discourse of development,” Diplomatic History 33:3 (June 2009), 467-486.

“’Illegally and Beautifully:’ The United States, the Indonesian Invasion of East Timor and the International Community,” Cold War History, Vol. 5:3 (August 2005), 281-315.

“Solidarity in an Age of Globalization: The International Movement for East Timor and U.S. Foreign Policy,” in Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research (July 2004), 453-482.

Book Chapters

“Political Economy,” solicited chapter in Michael Hogan and Frank Costigliola, eds.Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations, 3rd Edition, Cambridge University Press (forthcoming).

“Contested Human Rights Discourses in Suharto’s Indonesia, 1968-1980,” in Sam Moyn and Jan Eckel, eds. The Global History of Human Rights in the 1970s (University Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming 2013 in English and simultaneous German translation).

“Bringing the Non-State Back in: Human Rights and Terrorism since 1945,” in Michael Hogan and Frank Costigliola, eds., America in the World: the Historiography of American Foreign Relations since 1945 (Revised Edition, Cambridge University Press: New York, forthcoming 2013).

“Southeast Asia in the Global Cold War,” solicited chapter in Robert McMahon, ed. The Cold War in the Third World (series editor William Roger Louis, Oxford University Press, 2012.

“The political economy of the 1965-1966 mass killings in Indonesia,” solicited chapter in Douglas Kammen and Katharine McGregor, eds. The Destruction of the Indonesian Communist Party (published jointly by University of Hawaii Press, National University of Singapore Press, KITLV Press, Asian Studies Association of Australia, 2012).

“A Colonial Hot War in Cold War Disguise: The Indonesian Invasion and Occupation of East Timor, 1975-1999,” in Bernd Greiner, ed., Hot Wars in the Cold War (Hamburg: Hamburg Institute for Social Research, 2006), 23pp.

Brad Simpson, associate professor of history, on Sept. 29, 2021. (Kayla Simon/UConn Photo)
Contact Information
Mailing Address241 Glenbrook Road, U-4103, Storrs CT 06269
Office LocationWood Hall, Rm 213
CampusCampus: Storrs
Office HoursSpring 2024: Tue 1:15-3:15pm and by appointment