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Contact Jo Procter, college news director; phone: (413) 597-4279; e-mail Jo.Procter@williams.edu

Williams College to Host Conference on American Foreign Relations, April 17 & 18

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.  April 13, 2009 -- The Stanley Kaplan Program in American Foreign Policy at Williams College will host a Conference on New Scholarship in American Foreign Relations on Friday and Saturday, April 17 and 18, 2009.  Many of the events are open to the public and will take place in Griffin Hall, room 3. They are free.

The conference is a collaboration between Williams College and H-Diplo, an online network of more 4,600 professors, teachers, and students interested in foreign relations and history.   

The conference will open Friday evening with a private reception at which Robert Jervis, the Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Affairs at Columbia University, will deliver the keynote address. Jervis, a noted scholar on security policy, decision-making, theories of conflict and cooperation, and intelligence, is a widely published scholar.  He is the former president of the American Political Science Association.

A series of roundtable discussions on Saturday are open to the public.

The first roundtable, from 9-10:30 a.m., features "Nexus: Strategic Communications and American Security in World War I" by author Jonathan Reed Winkler from Wright State University. Winkler studies United States foreign relations, strategic thought, modern military and naval history, and international history of the 19th and 20th centuries. The book blends diplomatic, military, technology, and business history to describe how U.S. officials engaged in global communications innovations during World War I while struggling to maintain U.S. security.  The discussion, chaired by Williams Professor Mark Stoler, will include panelists John Milton Cooper from the University of Wisconsin, Ross Kennedy from Illinois State University, Alex Roland from Duke University, and Phyllis Soybel from the College of Lake County, Ill.

The next roundtable, 10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m., will focus on "Inventing Vietnam: The United States and State Building, 1954-1968" by author James M. Carter of Drew University. Carter specializes in American foreign relations, the Vietnam War, the U.S. and East Asia, the Cold War, modernization theory, and nation building. His book explores the notion that the Vietnam War was a direct result of failed U.S. foreign policy and state-building efforts in the country that began long before the war itself. Williams Professor Jessica Chapman will chair the discussion, and panelists will include Scott Laderman of the University of Minnesota, Fredrik Logevall of Cornell University, Edward Miller of Dartmouth College, and Jessica Elkind of San Francisco State University.

The third roundtable, 1:45-3:15 p.m., will focus on "Occupational Hazards: Success and Failure in Military Occupation" by Georgetown University Professor David Edelstein. Edelstein is interested in international security issues and the dynamics of military intervention, especially withdrawal and exit strategies. The book examines why some military occupations succeed while others fail, in order to understand contemporary policy challenges. Chaired by Williams Professor Paul Macdonald, discussion panelists include David Ekbladh of Tufts University, Peter Liberman of the City University of New York, Greg Mitrovich of Columbia University, and Gideon Rose, managing editor of Foreign Affairs magazine, published by the Council on Foreign Relations.

The final roundtable discussion, from 3:30-5 p.m., will look at "World Out of Balance: International Relations and the Challenge of American Primacy" by authors Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth of Dartmouth College. The book is a comprehensive analysis of the constraints of the United States' use of power in pursuit of its security interests.  It argues that in a unipolar system where the U.S. is the dominant power, the generally accepted constraints on security policy featured in international relations theories do not apply. Panelists of the discussion, to be chaired by Williams Professor James McAllister, include Stacie Goddard of Wellesley College, Jeff Legro of the University of Virginia, Marc Lynch of George Washington University, and Randall Schweller of Ohio State University.

The Stanley Kaplan Program in American Foreign Policy is part of the Leadership Studies Program at Williams College. Through the generous contribution of a donor, this program enables students to pursue studies of the past, present and future of American leadership in world affairs. The program brings distinguished visiting professors in history and political science to Williams College, as well as sponsoring a variety of fellowship opportunities.

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For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Public Affairs (413) 597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at www.williams.edu/home/campusmap/

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