Liberty and Justice: America and the Middle East:
The Proceedings of the Center for American Studies and Research, American University Beirut

Our partners at the Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR), American University of Beirut, recently published the selected proceedings of their second international conference, “Liberty and Justice: America and the Middle East”, held in Beirut in January 2008. The volume contains 35 papers by scholars from Europe, North America, and the Middle East. Contributors include Scott Lucas of Libertas/Enduring America, Melanie McAlister, Djelal Kadir, Amy Kaplan, Timothy Marr, Norman Finkelstein, Mounira Soliman, and Seyed Mohammad Marandi.

The volume is available for $20, including shipping to North America and Europe. For information on how to order, please visit CASAR’s website or e-mail

New Issue of Argentia:
The Journal of the British International Studies Association

Libertas has the latest issue of Argentia, which features a new project on the influence of conservative faith-based groups on US foreign policy and a roundtable review (including a contribution by Scott Lucas of Libertas) of the book After Bush by Timothy Lynch and Rob Singh.

Read the journal...

Scott Lucas at Dublin "Change in Washington" Conference
And on the Eighth Day: Obama's Foreign Policy
29 January 2009

The Clinton Institute for American Studies held a one-day conference at the Royal Irish Academy to consider the changes in US economic and foreign policy with the election of President Barack Obama. Scott Lucas of Libertas was one of the panelists: in this talk on the style and substance of Obama's "smart power" and notions of liberal intervention, he offers both hopes and concerns.

Listen to presentation...

Call for Papers
Clinton Institute, University College Dublin

"The CIA and US Foreign Policy: Reform, Representations and New Approaches to Intelligence

The Clinton Institute at University College Dublin are holding a conference on the CIA and its impact on US foreign policy, on February 20-21, 2009. See full details and a call for papers


Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) Call for Papers

Next year's SHAFR Conference will be held in the Falls Church area of Washington DC between June 25-7, 2009. The program committee are seeking panel proposals in a host of areas.
View details on this and a number of funding opportunities for the conference


DCAF-Shams Forum Report:
"Delivering Security to the Palestinian People

The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) and Shams Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Participation organised the third Forum 'Delivering Security to the People - Challenges to Palestinian Security Sector Governance' on 14 May 2008 in Jenin. This report is an in-depth analysis of the issues surrounding the topic of security in Palestine.
Visit the DCAF-Shams website and read the full report.


BISA US Foreign Policy Working Group Annual Conference
at the London School of Economics
September 18-19, 2008 - Bursaries Available

A limited number of post-graduate bursaries - funded by the AHRC -  are available to aid student participation and attendance at the above conference.

Application Form.

More Details


Libertas Contributor Published
9 June 2008

Libertas contributor, Brian Edwards, has recently had an article entitled "Kiddie Orientalism", published in The Believer.
View an excerpt

New Issue of Argentia Launched
3 June 2008

Argentia, the official publication of the BISA Working Group on US Foreign Policy, recently put out its third edition. This issues features a roundtable review of Tony Smith's new book, "A Pact with the Devil", and several articles and reports on ongoing events in America. View current issue

August 5-6, 2008: IICMSC Conference
University of Karachi, Pakistan

For several decades, global communication theories and practices have presented various strategies targeted towards change in various countries Through radio, television, satellite, or other traditional tools, social scientists ,politicians, journalists, researchers, partners of development, etc. favored communication as a means to social change. The conference intends to facilitate discussion on media representation of marginalized issues for the purposes of; raising levels of critical understanding of how the media works, and increase capacities for access to the media. This conference brings together educators, experts, international representatives and journalists to share their work and learn from each other. The conference will discuss the international experiments in the field of media and social change and the learned lessons in this concern and how developing countries can benefit from these experiences.

More details  

May 15: Scott Lucas on BBC Radio 3 "Night Waves"

Scott Lucas of Libertas will be part of a live discussion of the recently-released documentary RFK Must Die, pondering the CIA, drugs, assassination, and conspiracy theories. The broadcast airs at 9:45 p.m. More information is available at

US Embassy Live Webcast on 2008 Presidential Election
Digital Politics – Effects of the Information Age
on the 2008 U.S. Election and Beyond

May 15, 2008

The United States Embassy in London, in partnership with the Financial Times and YouGovStone, presents a live webcast: "Digital Politics – Effects of the Information Age
on the 2008 U.S. Election and Beyond".

Watch the discussion live online at: , and send your questions to the panel

Thursday 15th May at 6.30 p.m.

Chair: Gideon Rachman

Chief Foreign Affairs Columnist, Financial Times

Panel: Dr Andrew Chadwick - UK: Head of the Department of Politics and International Relations and Founding Director of the New Political Communication Unit at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Jimmy Leach - UK: Director of Digital Communications, Freud Communications and former Head of Digital Communications for the Prime Minister’s Office.

Phil Noble - USA: Noble & Associates, Washington DC and Founder, PoliticsOnline.

Joanna Shields - USA: President, Bebo

The expert panel will examine how the internet and other forms of "new media" (blogging, social networks, video sharing, etc) are influencing the conduct of the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, as well as modern electoral politics in the UK. They will explore how these newer means of communication may affect the outcome of elections by shaping the way that voters get information and support their candidates, both financially and through peer persuasion.

Leverhulme Lecture: Professor Howard Brick
"Margin and Mainstream: The Radical Left in the US since 1945

Monday, May 12 2008

On Monday, May 12 2008, the University of Birmingham will be hosting a Leverhulme lecture by Professor Howard Brick of Washington University (St Louis) and the University of Nottingham. Further Details....


Call for Papers: 49th Parallel Electronic Journal

The 49th Parallel, an interdisciplinary electronic journal based in the American and Canadian Studies Department at the University of Birmingham, invites article submissions for its forthcoming 2008 editions. Full details... 


BISA US Foreign Policy Working Group Annual Conference
at the London School of Economics
September 18-19, 2008

The Institute for the Study of the Americas ( and LSE IDEAS ( will co-host the third annual conference of the BISA US Foreign Policy Working Group on Thursday-Friday, 18-19 September 2008. The conference will bring together over 100 British and international scholars and consider issues central to US foreign policy in the build-up to the November 2008 elections. Professor Daniel Deudney, Johns Hopkins University, author of Bounding Power: Republican Security Theory from the Polis to the Global Village, will be the keynote speaker.

Papers that address any area of US foreign policy - contemporary or historical - will be considered. Those which address the legacy of Bush foreign policy are especially welcome. Suitable papers will be considered for inclusion in a subsequent conference publication.
View full details on the call for papers.


The Water Cure: Debating Torture and Counterinsurgency - a Century ago

Paul Kramer, author of the Blood of Government, which analysed the role that race played in determining US policy toward the Philippines, recently published an article in the New Yorker magazine. The article examines the use of 'water torture' by US troops at the turn of the last century in the Philippines, suggesting that the hugely controversial policy of water-boarding might not be the first time that the US has resorted to such tactics. Read the full article.


'We, The People: The Public and American Foreign Policy.'
Symposium - University of Leicester, April 25, 2008

This one day conference will look at a series of periods and examine the impact that the public have had on a number of key events in the history of US foreign policy. View the full programme or for further information and queries relating to attendance contact Helen Laville at  


Transatlantic Encounters: American Studies in the 21st Century
University of Lodz, Poland - 27-30 September, 2008

For full details of the Call for Papers for this forthcoming conference on American Studies in the 21st Century, please view the programme


Seyed Mohammed Marandi Interview

Head of the North American Studies graduate programme at the University of Tehran, and friend of Libertas, Seyed Mohammed Marandi, recently gave an interview to Guernica - A Magazine of Art & Politics, on teaching American Studies in Iran and the state of US-Iranian relations. Read the whole interview.


Steve Hewitt on Sky TV

Libertas contributor and founding member, Steve Hewitt, gave an interview on Sky this morning concerning the RUSI report on multiculturalism.... 


Call for Papers: Reform and Renewal: Transatlantic Relations During the 1960s and 1970s, June 7 2008.

The University College Dublin, College of Arts and Celtic Studies Transatlantic Relations Seminar will host a one-day conference in conjunction with the Clinton Institute for American Studies.

Plenary Speakers include: Professor Robert Brigham; Dr. Dominic Sandbrook; and, Dr. Stefan Halper. 

Twenty minute paper proposals are invited on any aspect of transatlantic relations during the 1960s and 1970s, and on any aspect of political change in relevant countries.

This one-day conference will take place on Saturday, 7th June 2008, at the William Jefferson Clinton Auditorium, UCD.

Please send paper title, 300-word abstract and a short CV to: Dr Sandra Scanlon: School of History and Archives, University College Dublin, Newman Building, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland. Or

Deadline for submission of abstracts: Friday, 21st March 2008

 Conference organisers: Dr Catherine Hynes and Dr Sandra Scanlon, UCD School of History and Archives.

See the full Call for Papers ....


Call for Papers: Transatlantic Studies Association, July 2008

This year's Transatlantic Studies Association Conference will take place at Dundee University from the 7-10 of July, 2008. Plenaries will be given by Serge Ricard, Bruce Jentleson and Kathleen Burk. welcome proposals by individuals, full panels of three speakers or a series of related panels focusing on a particular theme or topic.  Please direct any initial questions to Alan Dobson or the relevant panel co-ordinator.  We would welcome early submission of proposals and panels. The full call for papers, along with details of panel co-ordinators, can be found here.  Additionally, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations are looking to sponsor a panel at Dublin. View details of this exciting link up.


Clinton Institute Summer School, July 2008

The UCD Clinton Institute Summer School for 2008 will be held from the 13 - 19th July.

The School is aimed at advanced graduate students and junior faculty in American Studies and its cognate fields (English, History, Cultural and Media Studies, Political Science). The programme will offer participants the opportunity to work with pre-eminent figures in these fields and to investigate current developments in study of the United States

In 2008 the faculty will include Jonathan Auerbach (University of Maryland), Ruth Barton (Trinity College Dublin), Hamilton Carroll (University of Leeds), Penny Von Eschen (University of Michigan), Donatella Izzo (University of Naples), Cindi Katz (City University of New York), Liam Kennedy (University College Dublin), Scott Lucas (University of Birmingham), Donald Pease (Dartmouth College) and Werner Sollors (Harvard University)

More details

View a report of last year's hugely successful summer school



Symposium on Soft Power and US Foreign Policy
22 May 2008

Department of Politics, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester
Board Room, Arthur Lewis Building
22 May 2008

Keynote Speaker: Joseph Nye (Harvard)

Soft Power has become part of popular political discourse since it was coined by Harvard’s Joseph Nye in his 1990 book, Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, and then strengthened by his Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (2004). The rise of widespread anti-Americanism – or, at least, negative attitudes towards US foreign policy, especially due to the war of aggression against Iraq and the subsequent military occupation of the country – has brought new attention to the meaning and instruments of soft power. It sounds a lot more attractive, especially to critics of military force, and has become a staple of Democratic Party opponents of the foreign policies of President George W. Bush.

To Nye, soft power is the power of attraction, the influence of example – as opposed to the influence and power derived from military force, economic sanctions, and even economic aid. “Soft power is the ability to get what you want by attracting and persuading others to adopt your goals. It differs from hard power, the ability to use the carrots and sticks of economic and military might to make others follow your will. Both hard and soft power are important in the war on terrorism, but attraction is much cheaper than coercion, and an asset that needs to be nourished” (Nye, 2004).

Yet, soft power is ambiguous and the term is used, even by Nye, in many different ways. This has led to some interesting questions. Is propaganda an exercise in soft power? Are public and cultural diplomacy? Or is public diplomacy the result of the failure of soft power? Is soft power totally separate from hard (military and other coercive) power? What is the relationship between hard and soft power? Does the US military exercise soft power or consider it useful? How do the aims of soft power differ from hegemony? Is soft power merely a tactic in America’s global power strategy or is it a principle?

The One Day Symposium will consider all these questions and many more. Starting with a Round Table of distinguished experts – including Joseph Nye – the day will consist of 3 panels on Comparative Soft Power strategies across the world, including India, Iran and the European Union, a panel on US Public Diplomacy and Anti-Americanism, and Hegemony versus Soft Power. Speakers include: Craig Murphy (Wellesley, Harvard and Manchester), Stuart Croft (Warwick), John Dumbrell (Durham), Christopher Hill (Cambridge), Michael Cox (London School of Economics), Jeff Haynes (London Metropolitan), Nik Gowing (BBC World), Theo Farrell (Kings College, London), Scott Lucas (Birmingham), Angus Taverner (UK Ministry of Defence), Liam Kennedy (Dublin), Geraldo Zahran (Cambridge) and Philip Taylor (Leeds). 

Contact details for further information, a programme of events and a booking form, can all be found by following



International Conference - "Divided We Stand, United We Fall": Perspectives on Inclusion and Exclusion in America
June 27-28 2008

International Conference: "Divided we stand; united we fall" : Perspectives on Inclusions and Exclusions in America
Graduate School of North American Studies
Freie Universität, Berlin

Friday, 27 June and Saturday, 28 June 2008.
Proposals deadline: 15 March 2008

In collaboration with: Dept of American and Canadian Studies and the Centre for US Foreign Policy, Media, and Culture, University of Birmingham; the William Jefferson Clinton Institute for American

Studies, University College, Dublin, Dept of American Studies, University of Bonn. This event is linked to a 'partner' International Seminar at the University of Southern California.

The third in a series of annual international seminars, this conference is designed to bring together leading scholars and top graduate students from around the world to discuss "America" in historical and contemporary contexts.

We very much hope you will be able to attend. Please do pass this cfp on to any graduate students/postgraduate students you know who may be interested. The confernece fees, refreshment fees and accommodation fees will be kept deliberately affordable for graduate students.

Thomas Jefferson's inversion of the national maxim "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" was meant to underline the importance of religious diversity in America. Nearly 200 years later, as Americans again take to sing "The Liberty Song" in which these words first appeared, their resignification is controversial. Who is included and who is excluded in the post-9/11 call for national unity and the rejection of difference? How is American national identity construed in a fragmented space of immigration, culture wars, discrimination, patriotism, religion, securitization, socio-economic tensions and neoliberalism?

Is the exclusion of certain groups of people from the national identity, both historically and currently, an exception to the inclusive principles of the American myth or the very foundation on which this myth is based? And how do categories of race, class, gender, and sexuality operate in this dynamic? What is becoming of the inclusionary power of the American cultural hegemony in the face of the 'war on terror'? And how do we address the irony of proliferating exclusions in a new supposedly transnational world (dis)order? These are some of the questions this conference aims to address.

Graduate students and other scholars in American Studies are invited to submit abstracts of 300 words for the first annual graduate conference of the newly founded Graduate School of North American Studies at the Free University Berlin. Following the interdisciplinary tradition of the John-F.-Kennedy-Institute, we welcome papers that discuss the contradictory dynamics of inclusions and exclusions in the United States from a variety of angles and disciplines.

Possible topics might include but are by no means limited to:
* Representations of identity in the arts and literature
* Civil liberties after 9/11
* Immigration, citizenship, and democracy
* Rise of the Christian Right
* Minority rights and social justice
* American Exceptionalism
* Legacy of slavery
* Postcolonial perspectives on American imperialism
* Politics of recognition
* The New Imperialism

Proposal for a paper
Send an email detailing:
1. Full name
2. Contact Address
3. Contact email
4. Institutional Affiliation
5. Proposal: 300 word proposals outlining the paper you propose to deliver. Each paper will be scheduled for 15 minutes.
This call for papers ends on 15 March 2008.
The email(s) should be sent to 


New Issue of Argentia Launched
19 December 2007

Argentia is the newsletter of the BISA Working Group on US Foreign Policy. This second edition of the newsletter includes a report on this year's Working Group Conference held in Manchester in September, a roundtable review of Bruce Jentleson's new book, "The Dynamics of Choice in the 21st Century", and a set of essays on the future of the Anglo-American relationship.  Argentia can be accessed here.



The British War on Terror is Launched
15 December 2007

Or to be precise, the most important book you'll read on The British War on Terror is now out. In this ground-breaking study, Libertas managing director Steve Hewitt, argues that counter-terrorism efforts in the UK are failing as the British Government is loses its battle to win ‘hearts and minds’.

Dr Hewitt specifically connects the government’s failure to make headway in its fight against terrorism to its strategy of tying British foreign policy to that of the Bush administration and in particular  to its involvement in the invasion of Iraq. There are other significant factors,however, as Dr Hewitt notes: “The approach to counter-terrorism has been heavy-handed. The high profile botched terror raids, such as that in Forest Gate, and the introduction of a number of new laws, as well as stop and search tactics, have all weakened efforts to combat terrorism."
Offering a general overview of events in the UK since 9-11, Dr Hewitt criticizes the focus of the government’s activity and says its priorities need re-assessing: “Debates around identity cards or the 90-day detention rule distract from discussing measures and issues that might have made a difference with regard to 7/7 and to future 7/7s. Why for example did the start of a substantial expansion in the number of members of MI5 and in the organisation’s regional capabilities not occur immediately after 9/11 instead of in early 2004?” He cites the focus on religious and cultural practices, such as the wearing of the niqab, as detrimental to the ongoing political efforts against the terrorist threat, noting "By highlighting the differences in religious and cultural practices the government is fragmenting the very society it is trying to unite."
IWhile examining more than a hundred years of counter-terrorism activity in the UK, Dr Hewitt's provocative argument is that since that seminal day in September 2001, UK policy has been not only inconsistent but considerably inadequate. He calls for an overhaul to the government's methods: "There is a real need now for a smarter approach to countering terrorism, which should begin with a fundamental review of selected policy paths to determine whether they are indeed winning, or losing, 'heart and minds'."
More on the book, including extracts, can be found in our Publications section.



"Is Iraq Another Vietnam?"
A Special Interview with Robert Brigham and David Ryan
Recorded in Dublin, 15 November 2007

Following their special seminar held at our partner institution, the Clinton Institute for American Studies at University College Dublin, Robert Brigham and David Ryan spoke with Liam Kennedy about the similarities and differences between US intervention in Vietnam and US intervention in Iraq today. This 20-minute interview ranges from the "lessons" of Vietnam to issues such as the US forces and the use of military power, "nation-building", and American standing in the world.

Listen to the interview...

Listen to the full seminar...

Prof Robert Brigham is Professor of History and International Relations at Vasser College in the US, where he teaches courses on the history of American foreign relations and modern America. He is author of numerous books and essays on American foreign relations, including Guerrilla Diplomacy: The NLF’s Foreign Relations and the Vietnam War (1998); Argument Without End: In Search of Answers to the Vietnam Tragedy (1999) written with Robert S. McNamara and James G. Blight; and Is Iraq Another Vietnam? (2006).

Dr David Ryan is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of History at University College Cork. His books include US Foreign Policy in World History (2000), US-Sandinista Diplomatic Relations (1995, and Vietnam in Iraq: Tactics, Lessons, Legacies, and Ghosts (2006).


'The Dilemma of 'Freedom': The Conflict between the Preponderant and the Universal in US Foreign Policy from the Cold War to the 'War on Terror

 A presentation by Scott Lucas at Clare College, Cambridge, 22 October 2007

Listen to the presentation...


Canadian High Commissioner to the UK visitPhoto: Canadian High Commissioner

The Canadian High Commissioner to the UK,  James R Wright, visited the Department of American & Canadian Studies in October and gave a talk to our students and staff entitled: Transatlantic Relations: Canada-UK-US Cooperation in an Insecure World sponsored by Libertas

Listen to the High Commissioners talk...