12/7: Julia Irwin on “Catastrophic Diplomacy: The History of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance”

Since the turn of the 20th century, and particularly since 1945, the United States has been one of the world’s leading providers of bilateral disaster assistance. Julia Irwin, a prominent historian of U.S. international relations, will trace the history of U.S. governmental, military, and private responses to foreign catastrophes caused by tropical storms, earthquakes, floods, and other natural hazards. She will also analyze the diplomatic, strategic, and cultural significance of this global disaster assistance.

Julia Irwin earned her Ph.D. in History from Yale University and is now an Associate Professor of History at the University of South Florida. Her research focuses on the place of humanitarianism in 20th century U.S. foreign relations and international history. She is the author of Making the World Safe: The American Red Cross and a Nation’s Humanitarian Awakening (Oxford University Press, 2013) and is currently working on a new research project,Catastrophic Diplomacy: A History of U.S. Responses to Global Natural Disaster (the subject of her talk). Her work has appeared in such journals as The Journal of American History, Diplomatic History, The Bulletin of the History of Medicine, and The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.

The seminar meets at 4:00 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Moynihan Board Room, Ronald Reagan Building, Federal Triangle Metro Stop.

The seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center. It meets weekly during the academic year. See www.nationalhistorycenter.org for the schedule, speakers, topics, and dates as well as webcasts and podcasts. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.  Reservations requested because of limited seating.

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