Jeffrey A. Engel, 37
Teaching Position: Associate Professor and Verlin and Howard Kruse ’52 Founders Professor and the Director of Programming, Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at the Bush School of Texas A&M University.
Area of Research: Engel teaches courses in American foreign policy and the evolution of international strategy, with primary research interests including diplomacy’s domestic and localized effects, technology and foreign policy, and economic warfare.
Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D. in American History, 2001
Major Publications: Engel is the author of Cold War at 30,000 Feet: The Anglo-American Fight for Aviation Supremacy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007). American Historical Association’s 2008 Paul Birdsall Prize, awarded biannually to the outstanding work published in European Military and Strategic History. Engel is the editor of Rethinking Leadership and “Whole of Government” National Security Reform, with Joseph R. Cerami, (Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2010).” Authored the chapter: “Change is Hard… But Even Small Steps Matter,” 187-208;
Diplomatic History, Guest Editor of Special Edition, “The End of the Cold War: New Evidence and Interpretations from the First Bush Administration,” 34(1), January 2010;
The Fall of the Berlin Wall: The Revolutionary Legacy of 1989, Jeffrey A. Engel, ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009). Excerpted in Foreignpolicy.com, November 9, 2009, authored the chapter: “1989: An Introduction to an International History,” 1-35;
The China Diary of George H.W Bush: The Making of a Global President (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008). Excerpted in Newsweek, December 24, 2007;
Local Consequences of the Global Cold War, Jeffrey A. Engel, ed. (Palo Alto and Washington, DC: Stanford University Press and Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2008), authored with Katherine Carté Engel the chapter: “On Writing the Local within Diplomatic History: Trends, Historiography, Purpose,” 1-32.
Engel is also the author of numerous scholarly journal articles, book chapters and reviews including among others: “‘A Better World…but Don’t Get Carried Away’: The Foreign Policy of George H.W. Bush Twenty Years On,” Diplomatic History, 34(1), January 2010, 25-46;
“Leadership and National Security Reform,” A Strategic Studies Institute Colloquium Brief, Joseph R. Cerami, Jeffrey A. Engel, and Lindsey Pavelka,” Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, December 2009;
“Forty-One Minus Forty-Three is Not a Negative Number: Thinking Like an Historian about the First Bush Presidency,” Historically Speaking (Forthcoming, 2010);
“The Democratic Language of American Imperialism: Race, Order, and Theodore Roosevelt’s Personifications of Foreign Policy Evil,” Diplomacy and Statecraft 19(4), December 2008, 671-689;
“Over There…To Stay this Time: The Forward Deployment of American Basing Strategy in the Cold War and Beyond,” in Luis Rodrigues and Sergiy Glebov (eds.), Political and Social Impact of Military Bases: Historical Perspectives, Contemporary Challenges (Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2008), 17-28;
“A Shrinking World: Transport, Communication, and Towards a Global Culture,” in Gordon Martel, ed., Companion to International History, 1900-2001 (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2007), 52-64; “The American Tendency to Personify Foreign Threats, from Thomas Jefferson to George W. Bush: A Note on American Diplomatic Rhetoric,” Political Internacional 25(2), 2002, 197-230;
“‘Every Cent from America’s Working Man’: Fiscal Conservatism and the Politics of International Aid after World War II,” The New England Journal of History 58(1), 2001, 20-60.
Engel is currently writing Seeking Monsters to Destroy: Language and War from Thomas Jefferson to George W. Bush (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)
Awards: Engel is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including among others:
Texas A&M University System Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award, 2010;
Verlin and Howard Kruse ’52 Founders Professor, 2009-Present;
Program to Enhance Scholarly and Creative Activities Grant, Texas A&M University, 2008;
2008 Paul Birdsall Prize in European Military and Strategic History for Cold War at 30,000 Feet, American Historical Association;
Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations Summer Institute Participant, 2008;
Bush Faculty Excellence Award (Annually Awarded to Outstanding Faculty Member), 2007;
Evelyn and Ed F. Kruse ’49 Faculty Fellow, Awarded to Outstanding GBS Assistant Professor, 2006-2009;
Visiting Fellow, International Security Studies, Yale University, 2007;
Silver Star Award, Awarded by Graduating Students to Outstanding Bush School Professor, 2006;
John M. Olin Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Studies, Yale University, 2001-2003;
Visiting Fellow, Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy, Temple University, 2000-2001;
Guggenheim Research Fellow (renewed), National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, 2000;
Guggenheim Research Fellow, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, 1999-2000;
W. Stull Holt Memorial Fellowship of the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations, 2000;
United States Military Academy, West Point, Summer Teaching Fellow in Military History, 1999;
Research Fellow, Harry S Truman Presidential Library Institute, 1999;
Dissertation Research Fellow, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation, 1999;
Visiting Research Fellow, Eisenhower World Affairs Council (Eisenhower Library), 1999;
University of Wisconsin-Madison Vilas Fellow, 1997;
Blattberg Writing Award, University of Wisconsin Department of History, 1997;
Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in the Humanistic Studies, 1995-1996.
Formerly a lecturer in history and international relations at the University of Pennsylvania (2003-2004), a Visiting Assistant Professor at Haverford College (2004), and an Olin Postdoctoral Fellow in International Security Studies at Yale University (2001-2003).
Engel is the Co-Director, Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations Summer Institute, 2010, “Decision-making and the Uses of History”;
Engel serves on the Editorial Board for Diplomatic History and the Journal of Transatlantic Studies, and has published in numerous journals including Diplomatic History, The International Journal, and Enterprise & Society.
I did not set out to write my first book. At least, I did not set out to write the book that finally appeared a decade after I began graduate school. The overarching topic never changed. It remained from beginning to end a study of Anglo-American diplomatic competition for control of the vital aerospace marketplace after World War II.
The topic never changed. But the book itself changed wholly, completely, and unexpectedly. I like to think for the better.
It began, as did I in many ways, as a good example of Wisconsin new-left revisionism. Not only was a I trained by disciples of this powerful strain of diplomatic history, as an undergraduate by Walt LaFeber and in graduate school by Tom McCormick, but revisionism’s ingrained bias towards economic considerations and concerted policymaking by elite interests fit well my own red-diaper upbringing. Seminars and books that concluded, to crudely paint with a broad brush, that moneyed interests helped dictate Washington’s international priorities simply made intuitive sense following years of similar intergenerational invectives from the host of New York Jewish socialists who gathered around the family dinner table (even after we moved to Nebraska).
My dissertation proposal fit this model. Having arrived in Madison-and really, where else would a would-be leftist historian go for grad school?-determined to study what I termed the local impact of diplomacy, that is the measurable human, social, and economic costs and benefits of foreign policy upon communities, I quickly chose Anglo-American aviation diplomacy as my broad topic. Planes during the Cold War were built largely in single sites, thus ensuring that one could quickly discern the effects of plane sales, or their dearth, on the well-being of cities from Seattle to Farnborough. It had to be a topic politically-sexy enough to have garnered the attention of Prime Ministers and Presidents, thus ensuring that diplomacy and sales interacted and produced an extant documentary record. Finally, it had to be an Anglo-American study as well, because good diplomatic work of the era was invariably comparative and transnational, and having studied in England as and undergrad I was determined to get back as quick as possible.
I thus wrote what I thought to be a rather eloquent dissertation proposal befitting the best of what I understood to be the Wisconsin tradition. This would be a story of economic competition for markets, I posited. It would show British and American diplomats battling throughout the world to secure sales for their domestic producers, thereby ensuring prosperity at home and influence abroad. Policymakers would invariably ensure that trade followed the flag, I expected to show. And if their Special Relationship took a beating for the sake of national sales, well this was exactly the type of economic primacy trumping allied solidarity I expected to find once I hit the archives.
The dissertation proposal proved a beautifully constructed piece of tripe. I was not in England 48 hours, immersed in the documents for the second day of an expected year-long cruise through the archives, when I realized I had the story entirely wrong. This was not a tale of export promotion, the records revealed. It was instead one of export-constraint. The story of Anglo-American aviation diplomacy was not a tale of diplomats fighting to open markets for their own producers. It was instead a saga of policymakers vainly struggling to hold back the tide of eager salespeople, whose lust for exports paid little concern for the potential loss of strategically valuable aviation technologies to communist foes. It was a also, I ultimately discovered, a tale of divergent and contradictory British and American strategies for waging and winning the Cold War, one in which strategic concerns trumped economic considerations; though I first had to accept how wrong I’d originally been before I could see this story emerge.
In short, I had it wrong. I won’t say the experience of watching my expectations dashed and then reborn destroyed my revisionist leanings in one fell swoop, because in truth these had already begun to both decline in zeal in favor of a (hopefully) more complex worldview colored by different and even contradictory theories of analysis. At the least, it taught a valuable lesson: history is not always what we expect, but more often what we discover. First, however, one has to be willing to look. And to change one’s mind, no matter how the final product is received around the dinner table.
By Jeffrey A. Engel
At the start of the year, the globe’s strategic map looked much like it had since the end of World War II. Communist leaders in China and the Soviet Union held power. Their American counterparts, skeptical of the sincerity of recent calls for change throughout the Communist world, prepared for a reinvigorated Cold War of unknown duration and ferocity. Europe prepared for another year divided along fault lines imposed by conquering armies nearly a half-century before.
A year later, communism would be dead in Eastern Europe and dying in the Soviet Union itself. China would be once more in the grip of hard-liners wary of reform, and once more on the precipice of isolation. Washington would be looking to capitalize on its Cold War victory. Europe would soon by rejoined. The future-our twenty-first century present-would be at hand. And no one had seen it coming. — Jeffrey Engel in “The Fall of the Berlin Wall: The Revolutionary Legacy of 1989″ (Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 1.
About Jeffrey A. Engel
Posted on Sunday, June 6, 2010 at 10:41 AM