I am a historian of American foreign relations. Most of my research has focused on American-Soviet and American-Russian relations, though I am also interested in other dimensions of the history of the US in the World, especially US military occupations of foreign nations and “nation building” missions since 1898.
My primary current research project concerns citizen activism and the end of the Cold War. It challenges the widespread misconception that the Cold War ended when the Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991 and shows that the American-Soviet Cold War ended in the eyes of most Americans between 1987 and 1990. In contrast to much scholarship that concentrates on the roles of “great men” (Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, and George H.W. Bush), I show how American and Soviet citizens contributed to the ending of the Cold War, particularly through ambitious citizen diplomacy projects that overcame ideological hostility and shattered negative stereotypes.
In collaboration with two Russian historians (Victoria Zhuravleva and Ivan Kurilla), I am completing a comprehensive history of American-Russian relations across four centuries. It is tentatively titled From Distant Friends to Intimate Enemies.
My previous book, The American Mission and the “Evil Empire” (2007) analyzed why and how Americans sought to liberate, redeem, and transform Russia from the 1880s through the early twenty-first century. It also examined how Americans have demonized Russia and used it as a foil for the affirmation of the virtues of the United States.
In my first book, America’s Secret War Against Bolshevism (1995), I showed that US intervention in the Russian Civil War from 1917 to 1920 involved not only military expeditions to Siberia and northern Russia but also the covert financing of anti-Bolshevik forces, intelligence gathering, and propaganda campaigns.
COURSES REGULARLY TAUGHT
- 506:299 History Workshop: From Enemies to Friends
- 510:377 Russia in War and Peace
- 512:355 From Colonies to Empire: American Foreign Relations to 1898
- 512:352 US Foreign Relations Since 1898
- 512:354 America, Russia, and the Cold War
- 510:516 Movements for Social Change in the United States and the World
- Readings in American History I and II: The United States in the Twentieth Century
- Colloquium on the US and the World
- “ pdf How American and Soviet Women Transcended the Cold War (430 KB) ,” Diplomatic History, 2022.
- “ pdf How to End a Cold War (563 KB) ,” Kontsept, 2020
- “ pdf When the Russians Really Were Coming: Citizen Diplomacy and the End of Cold War Enmity in America (1.70 MB) ,” Cold War History, Vol. 20, No. 4 (2020), 419-440.
- “The Open Door, Tsarist Russia, and the Soviet Union, 1900-1945,” in Brooke Blower and Andrew Preston, ed., Cambridge History of America in the World, Vol. 3 (Cambridge University Press, 2020).
- The American Mission and the “Evil Empire": The Crusade for a "Free Russia” Since 1881 (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
- America's Secret War Against Bolshevism: U.S. Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1917-1920 (The University of North Carolina Press, 1995)
- “ pdf The Perils of Prophecy: American Predictions About Russia's Future Since 1881 (3.43 MB) ," in Russia and the United States: Perceiving Each Other, edited by V. V. Noskov (St. Petersburg, 2015), 282-298.
- “The Formation of American Images of Russia as an 'Other,' 1881-1917,” co-authored with Victoria Zhuravleva, Amerikanskii Ezhegodnik, 2004 (Moscow, 2006), 233-281.
- “American Hopes for the Transformation of Russia During the Second World War,” Novaia i Noveishaia Istoriia, #1, January 2003, 80-105.
- “Ten Myths About Russia: Understanding and Dealing with Russia’s Complexity and Ambiguity,” coauthored with Gordon M. Hahn, Problems of Post-Communism, Vol. 49, No. 6 (November/December 2002), 3-15.
- “Roots of ‘Liberation’: American Images of the Future of Russia in the Early Cold War, 1948-1953,” The International History Review, Vol. XXI, No. 1 (March 1999), 57-79.
- “Redeeming Russia? American Missionaries and Tsarist Russia, 1886-1917,” Religion, State and Society, Vol. 25, No. 4 (December 1997), 353-368.
- Faculty Fellow, Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, 2005-2006
- Gerald R. Ford Foundation Research Travel Grant, 2003
- Rutgers University Board of Trustees Fellowship for Scholarly Excellence, 1996
- Visiting Scholar, Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University, 1995-1996.
- Short-Term Research Grant, International Research and Exchanges Board, 1995.
- Rutgers University Faculty of Arts and Sciences Award for Distinguished Contribution to Undergraduate Education, 1995.
- MacArthur International Security Studies Fellowship, 1989-1991.