Ronald Reagan and the Transformation of Global Politics in the 1980s

The Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin in association with the Strauss Center for International Security and Law, the Department of History and the Department of Government, the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University, will host a 3-day conference titled "Ronald Reagan and the Transformation of Global Politics in the 1980s" in January 2017. 

This conference will bring together a group of scholars and former policy-makers to undertake a wide-ranging reassessment of U.S. foreign policy and international relations during the Reagan Administration in light of emerging archival resources and declassified documents. 


Thursday, January 19

12:30-1:45p.m.            Ken Adelman book talk “Reagan at Reykjavik: Forty-Eight Hours that Ended the Cold War”

2:00 – 2:15p.m.           Brief orientation 

2:15 – 4:00p.m.           Global Issues

 -      Fritz Bartel (Cornell), “Inverting Foreign Aid: The Reagan Financial Buildup”

-      Christopher Fuller (Southampton), “The Reagan Administration and the Roots of US Cyber (In)Security

-      David S. Painter (Georgetown), “Oil and the End of the Cold War”

-      Sarah Snyder (American), “Compartmentalizing U.S. Foreign Policy: Human Rights in the Reagan Years”

-      Discussant: Jeremi Suri (Texas)

4:00 – 4:15p.m.           Coffee and Snack Break

4:15 – 6:00p.m.           Round Table with Reagan Administration officials: Ken Adelman, Admiral Bobby Inman and Henry R. Nau


Friday, January 20

9:00 – 10:45a.m.         Western and Eastern Europe

 -      Tomasz Blusiewicz (Harvard), “Reagan and Poland’s Solidarity Movement”

-      Elizabeth C. Charles and James Graham Wilson (U.S. Department of State), “Reagan and the Soviets, January 1981 – January 1989”

-      Susan Colbourn (Toronto), “Transatlantic Relations, the “Nuclear Cowboy,” and the Fight over Détente”

-      Mattias Haeussler (Cambridge), “Hemut Schmidt, Margaret Thatcher, and the “Reagan Factor” in Transforming the Transatlantic Relationship during the early 1980s”

-      Discussant: Robert Hutchings (Texas)

10:45 – 11:00a.m.       Coffee Break

11:00 – 11:45 a.m.      Presidential Inauguration followed by Presidential History Panel

12:15 – 12:45p.m.       Lunch: Steven F. Hayward, “Ronald Reagan and American Conservatives”

1:00 – 2:45p.m.           Latin America

 -      James Cameron (FGV), “Partnership, Crisis, and Renewal: Reagan and Brazil”

-      Kyle Longley (Arizona State), “The Mouse that Roared: Oscar Arias Sánchez versus the Reagan Administration over Peace in Central America”

-      Evan McCormick (SMU), “Reagan and Pinochet’s Dictatorship in Chile”

-      William Michael Schmidli (Bucknell), “Reframing Human Rights: Reagan’s Project Democracy and the U.S. Intervention in Nicaragua.”

-      Discussant: Jonathan C. Brown (Texas)

2:45 – 3:00p.m.           Coffee Break

3:00 – 4:45p.m.           South and East Asia 

-      Elisabeth Mariko Leake (Leeds), “Reagan, Islam, and Islamism: Negotiating the Politics of Religion in US Foreign Policy”

-      Jennifer Miller (Dartmouth), “Has the Student Become the Master? Japan and the Specter of American Decline”

-      Robert Rakove (Stanford), “The Central Front of Reagan’s Cold War”

-      John Clinton Work IV (Washington), “The United States and the Korean Peninsula under Reagan”

-      Discussant: Paul D. Miller (Texas)


Saturday, January 21

 9:00 – 10:45a.m.         Reagan’s Government and National Security Policy

-      Robert Chesney (Texas), “The Origins of American Counterterrorism”

-      Jonathan Hunt (Southampton), “Cold War Summitry and the post-Cold War World”

-      William Inboden (Texas), “Things Fall Apart: Reagan’s Second Term NSC”

-      Mark Lawrence (Texas), “Ronald Reagan and the Vietnam Syndrome”

-      Discussant: Gail Yoshitani (West Point)

10:45 – 11:00a.m.       Coffee Break

11:00 – 12:45p.m.       The Nuclear Question

-      Stephanie Freeman (Virginia), “We, Too, Are Activists:” Ronald Reagan, the Nuclear Freeze Movement, and U.S. Arms Control Policy, 1981-1985”

-      Simon Miles (Texas), “The War Scare That Wasn’t: Able Archer and the Myths of the Second Cold War”

-      Ori Rabinowitz and Giordana Pulcini (Hebrew), “The US, Israel and the IAEA during the Reagan Administration”

-      Jane Vaynman (Temple) “Political Volatility and the Intermediate Nuclear Force Treaty

-      Discussant: Francis J. Gavin (MIT)

1:00 – 2:30p.m.           Working lunch: The Middle East and Africa

-      Seth Anziska (UCL), “The Limits of Triumphalism in the Middle East: Israel, the Palestinian Question and Lebanon in the Age of Reagan”

-      Flavia Gasbarri (KCL), “The Reagan and the Cold War Endgame in the Periphery: The Case of South Africa”

-      Bryan Gibson (Johns Hopkins SAIS), “Reagan and the Iran-Iraq War”

-      Douglas Little (Clark), “Bad Time for Bonzo: Ronald Reagan and the Muslim World”

-      Discussant: Yoav Di-Capua (Texas)

2:30 – 4:15p.m.           Reagan and Domestic Politics

-      Ben Griffin (Texas), “War Stories: Ronald Reagan, Tom Clancy, and Viewing the Future”

-      Lauren Turek (Trinity), “Between Values and Action: Religious Rhetoric, Human Rights, and Reagan’s Foreign Policy”

-      Vanessa Walker (Amherst), “Might Makes Rights: Militarization, Democracy, and Reagan’s Human Rights Legacy”

-      Discussant: Bartholomew Sparrow (Texas)

Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 9:00am to 4:15am

AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center (ATT), Classroom 202
1900 UNIVERSITY AVE , Austin, Texas 78705

Event Type

Academics, Arts & Humanities, Policy & Law, Research Opportunities & Studies, World & Culture, Diversity


All Departments

Target Audience

Students, Faculty, Families


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