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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Peter Hahn Mitch Lerner

Principal Investigators: Peter Hahn and Mitchell Lerner, Department of History

Since 1969, the newsletter for the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) has provided a forum for the discussion of issues related to the practice of American diplomacy, while also presenting historians of U.S. foreign policy with a reliable source of professional information.

In 2003, the newsletter was renamed Passport, and editorship passed to Peter Hahn and Mitch Lerner, with support from the Mershon Center. Passport’s purpose is:

  • to print essays on substantive issues related to the study of American diplomacy, particularly those focusing on newly opened archival materials
  • to host debates among scholars
  • to offer detailed information regarding new publications, scholarly competitions and awards, calls for papers and contributions, and other relevant resources

During the 2007-08 academic year, Passport included such articles as:

  • "The Manufacture of Fear: U.S. Politics Before and After 9/11," by Scott Lucas of the University of Birmingham, addressing the "culture of fear" that has affected the making of U.S. foreign policy decisions, both currently and historically
  • "Key Sources for Nixon's Foreign Policy," by Edward C. Keefer, general editor for the Foreign Relations of the United States series
  • "Researching in the Beloved Country: Archives and Adventure in South Africa," by Eric J. Morgan of the University of Colorado at Boulder, on the little-studied archival collections of South Africa that provide insight on the Cold War and global race relations in the 20th century
  • "The Vietnam Oral History Project: A Corrective for Historical Analogies," by Christy Jo Snider of Berry College, on methods for effective use of historical analogies in foreign policy courses
  • Roundtable reviews of books such as The Birth of Development: How the World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization, and World Health Organization Changed the World, 1945-1965, by Amy Staples, and Ambassadors in Pinstripes: The Spalding World Baseball Tour and the Birth of the American Empire, by Thomas Zeiler

In Passport, SHAFR distributes conference notifications, meeting notes, and survey results regarding the teaching of American diplomatic history.  This society also compiles articles about methods for teaching foreign relations courses.

In producing Passport, Hahn and Lerner aspire to provide historians of American diplomacy with a forum that educates them about the field, the profession, and the fundamental issues surrounding U.S. foreign policy in the international arena.