Contemporary International History is a highly popular graduate program at outstanding universities, and undergraduate courses in the field are often filled first. Popular histories and even academic studies of wars since 1939 occupy frequently appear on bestseller lists, and filmmakers seek out spy stories and tales of international intrigue. Yet within the university, particularly in history departments, contemporary international history has been in retreat for several decades. Many smaller departments lack a specialist in the field, and historians in most universities do not participate in thriving International Relations programs. There is no counterpart among historians to the International Studies Association with its large annual conference and significant international range.
This conference will assess the state of the field of Contemporary International History, its past, present, and future. Bringing together prominent international scholars, political scientists whose work reflects historical research, and younger academics undertaking new directions, the conference will provide a better understanding of the importance of Contemporary International History in the academy and in public discourse and policymaking.