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Paul McGarr

Assistant Professor in American and Canadian Studies, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

Paul M. McGarr is Assistant Professor in US Foreign Policy in the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham. He has a PhD and MA in International History from the University of London. He sits on the management board of the Institute for Asia and Pacific Studies. In 2017, he was awarded a British Science Association Media Fellowship to engage the wider public in academic research through the media. He is an alumnus of the AHRC Engaging with Government programme that fosters partnerships between researchers and national and local policymakers. In 2013, he was Eccles Centre Visiting Fellow in North American Studies at the British Library, where he completed a project entitled 'Quiet Americans in India: Intelligence, Culture and Paranoia in US-South Asian Relations'. In 2015, he undertook further work on the connections between intelligence and diplomacy as Marjorie Kovler Research Fellow at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. In 2011, he held a Visiting Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford's Rothermere American Institute. Between 2009 and 2011, he worked on a major project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Landscapes of Secrecy: The Central Intelligence Agency and the Contested Record of US Foreign Policy, 1947-2001. He is an alumni of the Library of Congress/American Historical Association International Research Seminar on Decolonization (Washington, D.C, 2010). At present, he is joint editor of H-Decol, a transnational network, sponsored by the American National History Centre in Washington D.C., which studies of the history and processes of decolonization. He contributes to contemporary debates surrounding US foreign policy through media appearances on the global service radio VoR London. His first book, The Cold War in South Asia, 1945-1965, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013. It offers the first systematic analysis of Anglo-American interaction with India and Pakistan during their first two decades as independent sovereign states. Writing in the Journal of American Studies, Professor David Engerman (Brandeis University) has stated that, "McGarr's Cold War in South Asia provides rich evidence, strong arguments, and compelling insights about Anglo-American policy in South Asia; it is, in short, a new standard in the field."

Research Summary

I work on the diplomatic and political history of relations between the United States, Great Britain, and the developing world in the latter half of the twentieth century. To date, my publications… read more

Recent Publications

Current Research

I work on the diplomatic and political history of relations between the United States, Great Britain, and the developing world in the latter half of the twentieth century. To date, my publications have focused on aspects of transnational politics, economics, defence, intelligence and security, and post-colonial culture.

My research has been funded by: the Arts and Humanities Research Council; the Mellon Foundation; the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford; the British Library's Eccles Centre for American Studies; the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston; the Centre for Policy Studies, New Delhi; and the Friendly Hand Charitable Trust. In 2010, I was selected to participate in an International Research Seminar on Decolonization held in Washington, D.C, jointly sponsored by the American Historical Association's National History Center and the Library of Congress.

My first book, The Cold War in South Asia, 1945-1965, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013 (See www.cambridge.org/9781107008151). It offers the first systematic analysis of Anglo-American interaction with India and Pakistan during their first two decades as independent sovereign states. Specifically, it examines the extension of American power into the Indian subcontinent following Washington's alliance with Pakistan in 1954, and the inevitable Soviet riposte that followed, and analyses how this process recast the geo-political map of South Asia in a fundamental and enduring fashion.

Writing in the Journal of American Studies, Professor David Engerman (Brandeis University) stated that, "McGarr's Cold War in South Asia provides rich evidence, strong arguments, and compelling insights about Anglo-American policy in South Asia; it is, in short, a new standard in the field."

Other reviews of the Cold War in South Asia:

"McGarr has crafted a superb international history. McGarr tracks not only the rise and fall of Anglo-American influence in South Asia during the first two decades after Independence and Partition until the end of the 1960s, but, just as importantly, he provides a broad assessment of the regional policies of India, Pakistan, the Soviet Union, and China... McGarr has done an extraordinary job of constructing an international narrative by conducting rigorous multi-archival research in several countries... McGarr's The Cold War in South Asia should be required reading for anyone interested not only in South Asia, but also the global Cold War." Professor Eric Pullin (Carthage College)

"It is hard not to applaud The Cold War in South Asia. There is hardly a question - hardly a document - about UK-U.S. relations within the context of South Asia policy that is not accounted for in this book. American presidents and British prime ministers, as well as their foreign secretaries, ambassadors and security advisers brilliantly come to life as they interact with the top leadership in Pakistan and India... There is no doubt that scholars interested in South Asia will take recourse to this book. Even decades from now they will find a meticulously produced gold mine of information." Dr. Markus Daechsel (Royal Holloway, University of London).

"McGarr sheds new light on British attitudes and approaches toward the subcontinent, as well as on Anglo-American collaboration and competitiveness... McGarr does all this in a book that is well written, with a style that keeps the reader engaged... It will make a valuable addition to the bookshelves of not just scholars, but also policymakers who continue to grapple with the subject of influence and of how to work with their allies and partners in third countries." Dr. Tanvi Madan (Brookings Institute, Washington D.C).

"McGarr places his arguments in a context that is as relevant today as it was between 1947 and 1965, the period of his study. The elegant writing style lends itself to a general readership, including those who may have a vaguer interest in South Asia but a greater appreciation for a subtle accounting of Anglo-American rivalry and a bid for influence. Further, The Cold War in South Asia should be considered required reading for all western diplomats preparing to work for their countries' interests in a part of the world that is arguably at centre-stage of contemporary international politics." Rudra Chaudhuri (King's College London)

"Paul McGarr's exhaustively researched and clearly argued account of Cold War diplomacy in South Asia is a welcome addition to the growing historical literature in this area…Readers of McGarr's work will certainly be struck by some aspects of this history that seem to have recurred today….[the] book is praiseworthy not only for its reconstruction of this complicated diplomacy but also for its admonitory judgment about the limits and realities of power politics and state relationships in South Asia even today." Andrew Muldoon (State University of Denver)

Recently, I completed a major piece of research funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council entitled, Landscapes of Secrecy: The Central Intelligence Agency and the Contested Record of US Foreign Policy, 1947-2001. The project, which represented a collaborative endeavour with the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick, was concerned with analysing the 'policing of the past' by US government officials and active resistance by others. In particular, it sought to understand the role played by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in shaping official narratives of American foreign policy. I am currently in the process of completing a second monograph based on this research, which critically evaluates the evolution of the CIA's representation in the Department of State's flagship documentary history of US diplomacy, the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series.

Between October and December 2011, as a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Oxford's, Rothermere American Institute, I began to explore the interplay between US diplomacy and the American intelligence community within the context of the developing world. More precisely, my current research interest centers on the symbolism that has come to be associated with the Central Intelligence Agency - often drawn from cultural milieu - and the extent to which this has exercised a substantive effect on American diplomacy in Asia, America, and sub-Saharan Africa between the early 1950s and the late 1980s.

In the spring of 2013, I was awarded an Eccles Centre Visiting Fellowship in North American Studies at the British Library. My tenure as an Eccles Centre Fellow was spent working on a project entitled 'Quiet Americans in India: Intelligence, Culture and Paranoia in US-South Asian Relations'. This research project critically examines the historical roots of the interrelationship between US Intelligence activity and American diplomacy in South Asia, a nexus of the ongoing 'War on Terror'. In 2015, I undertook further work on the connections between intelligence and diplomacy as Marjorie Kovler Research Fellow at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, in Boston.

In 2016, I was selected to participate in the AHRC's 'Engaging with Government' programme, run in partnership with the Institute for Government. The programme is designed to build links between policy makers and researchers in the arts and humanities sector, and enabled me to explore opportunities for engagement with national policy makers in the context of my latest research project, which focuses on the nature and utility of 'soft power' as an instrument of international diplomacy, and more specifically, the UK government's record of working with the British Council to harness cultural capital in pursuit of foreign policy objectives.

Most recently, in 2017, I was awarded a British Science Association Media Fellowship to engage the wider public in academic research through the media.

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