Hall Center For The Humanities


Andrew Preston
Senior Lecturer in American History, Cambridge University

"Religion in American War and Diplomacy: A History"
Special Events

Thu., Mar. 28, 2013, 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Co-sponsored by the Departments of History, Religious Studies, European Studies, the Center for Global & International Studies, the Peace War & Global Change Seminar, & the Hall Center
Location: Hall Center Conference Hall

From the first colonists to the presidents of the 21st Century, religion has always shaped America's relationship with other nations. During the presidency of George W. Bush, many Americans and others around the world viewed the entrance of religion into foreign policy discourse, especially with regard to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as a new development. Despite the official division between church and state, the presence of religion in American foreign policy has been a constant. Yet aside from leaders known to be personally religious, such as Bush, Jimmy Carter and Woodrow Wilson, few realize how central faith has always been to American governance and diplomacy–and indeed to the idea of America itself. Based on his recent book, Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith, Preston's lecture will trace in broad outline the historical relationship between religion and American foreign relations, and use two case studies by way of example.

Andrew Preston is Senior Lecturer in American History and a Fellow of Clare College at Cambridge University, where he also serves as Editor of The Historical Journal. He is the author of The War Council: McGeorge Bundy, the NSC, and Vietnam (Harvard University Press, 2006) and co-editor, with Fredrik Logevall, of Nixon in the World: American Foreign Relations, 1969-1977 (Oxford University Press, 2008). His most recent book is Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy (Knopf, 2012). In addition to articles in scholarly journals, he has written for the Toronto Globe & Mail, History Today, the Boston Globe, Religion & Politics, Politico, the TLS, and ForeignAffairs.com.

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