PhD (full time) - currently registered
Selling American Empire: Cold War Public Diplomacy and the American Decolonization of the Philippines, 1945-1957 (working title)
My research explores America's decolonization of the Philippines through the lens of public diplomacy. It poses three critical questions: how did American actors sell Philippine decolonization during the global Cold War, what were the Filipino responses from elite and popular perspectives, and how did these responses influence the intellectual development of nationalism in the decolonizing world?
The United States granted the Philippines independence on 4 July 1946 after forty-eight years of colonial rule. This critical event in Philippine-American history intersected with the emergence of a global Cold War, where strategic, cultural, and ideological divisions between the Soviet Union and United States produced distinctly different visions of the decolonizing world. Such division fostered a competition amongst the superpowers to consolidate their influence over emerging states. After World War II, this struggle played out on a global stage, where nations like the Philippines navigated a complex terrain of colonial conflict and Cold War rivalry to forge their path to nationhood.
Utilizing the islands' significance as a forerunner for post-war Asian decolonization, the research illuminates attempts by U.S. officials to 'win friends and influence people' in the Cold War battle for hearts and minds by projecting positive affirmations of Philippine freedom across the world. The project addresses U.S. public diplomacy in the Philippines during the Truman and Eisenhower years, examining how historical containers like the emergence of the Cold War, the Point IV programme, the conflict in Korea, and the movement for non-alignment interacted with Philippine decolonization to produce positive affirmations of American empire. Employing a transnational cast of historical actors, including US colonialists like Millard Tydings, public intellectuals and journalists like Joseph Hayden and Russel Brines, elite and popular Filipino figures like Manuel Roxas and Luis Taruc, as well as international actors in Britain and across the globe, the research probes the competing ways Filipinos understood and contested American propaganda, and analyses how these responses expanded outwards to inform international conversations around empire and decolonization in Cold War Asia.
- History of Decolonization
- History of Public Diplomacy
- Imperial/ Colonial History
- Southeast Asian History
- US Diplomatic History
- US-Philippine Relations
- Professor Bevan Sewell
- Professor Paul McGarr
Research Institutes and Clusters
- American Politics Group (APG), Political Studies Association (PSA)
- Asia Research Institute (ARI), University of Nottingham
- Association of Southeast Asian Studies, United Kingdom (ASEASUK)
- British Association for American Studies (BAAS)
- Department of American & Canadian Studies Politics & Foreign Policy Cluster, University of Nottingham
- Historians of the Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS)
- Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR)
- US Foreign Policy Working Group, British International Studies Association (BISA)
Primary Funding Source(s)
- Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Midlands 3Cities Doctoral Scholarship, 2018-2021
Studentships, Fellowships, and Grants
- Association of Southeast Asian Studies (ASEASUK) postgraduate research grant, July 2019.
- Midlands 3Cities Student Development Fund research grant, June 2019.
- Harry S. Truman Presidential Library research grant, May 2019.
- Midlands 3Cities Student Development Fund research grant, April 2019.
- Midlands 3Cities Student Development Fund conference grant, March 2019.
- Midlands 3Cities Student Development Fund conference grant, February 2019.
- British International Studies Association US Foreign Policy Working Group conference grant, September 2018.
- Political Studies Association American Politics Group conference grant, July 2018.
- School of Cultures, Languages & Area Studies Doctoral Studentship, 2018.
- School of Cultures, Languages & Area Studies Postgraduate Research Grant, February 2018.
- Two-time winner of the Asia Research Institute Tomlinson Dissertation Travel Grant, 2015-2016 & 2016-2017.
- Midlands 3Cities Nottingham master's studentship, 2016-2017.
- School of Cultures, Languages & Area Studies Postgraduate Research Grant, April 2016.
- ASEASUK & Midlands 3Cities funded research trip to Manila, Philippines to visit the Filipinas Heritage Library, Main Library (University of the Philippines, Diliman), National Library of the Philippines, and the Ramon Magsaysay Centre Asian Library, October 2019.
- Midlands 3Cities & Truman Library funded research trip to the United States to visit the Truman & Eisenhower presidential libraries in Independence, MO & Abilene, KS respectively, June 2019.
- Asia Research Institute funded research trip to Washington DC to visit the US National Archives, Library of Congress, and papers of Millard E. Tydings (University of Maryland), February 2018.
- Asia Research Institute funded research trip to Manila, Philippines to undertake archival work in the National Library of the Philippines, Main Library (University of the Philippines, Diliman), and American Historical Collection (Rizal Library, Ateneo de Manila University), October 2016.
- School of Cultures, Languages, and Area Studies funded research trip to the United States to visit Bentley and Lilly libraries (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Indiana University, Bloomington), August-September, 2016.
- Book Review - Heer, Paul J. Mr. X and the Pacific: George F. Kennan and American Policy in East Asia. London: Cornell University Press, 2018. Journal of American Studies [forthcoming].
- Solving the "Philippine Problem": Frank Murphy, the Great Depression, and the Creation of the Philippine Commonwealth, 1933-36. Presented at the 'America in the Asian Century' symposium at the University of Nottingham in March 2017. Also served as organiser.
- A New Deal for the Philippines: Frank Murphy, the Great Depression, and the Creation of the Philippine Commonwealth, 1933-1936. Presented at the Bristol Institute for Research in Humanities & Arts (BIRTHA) postgraduate conference, 'Empires & Nations: Beyond the British Case', at the University of Bristol in April 2017.
- The Perfect Place to "Win Friends and Influence People": Paul V. McNutt, the Cold War, and the Fledgling Philippine State, 1945-1947. Presented at the 'International History and Diplomacy' conference at Liverpool John Moores University in May 2017.
- Imagining Independence: American Visions of Philippine Freedom in the Global Cold War, 1945-1947. Presented at the 'International History and Diplomacy' conference at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, in May 2018.
- Philippine Freedom and the Global Cold War, 1945-1947. Presented at the annual conference of the 'Historians of the Twentieth Century United States' at Madingley Hall, University of Cambridge in June 2018.
- The Perfect Place to 'Win Friends and Influence People': US Cold War Public Diplomacy in the Philippines, 1945-1947. Presented at the inaugural postgraduate conference of the American Politics Group (APG) at the University of Reading in July 2018.
- US Cold War Public Diplomacy in the Philippines, 1945-1947. Presented at the British International Studies conference, Liverpool John Moores University, in September 2018.
- The Perfect Place to 'Win Friends and Influence People': Cold War Public Diplomacy and the American Decolonisation of the Philippines, 1945-1947. British Association for American Studies conference, University of Sussex, April 2019. Organised panel.
- A 'Bridge' or a 'Chasm'?: Philippine Independence and Cold War Public Diplomacy in the Global South, 1945-1947. International History and Diplomacy Conference, Liverpool John Moores University, May 2019. Served as conference organiser.
- Winner of 2014/15 University of Hull Departmental Prize for Outstanding Undergraduate Dissertation.
- Contributing author for the School of Politics & International Relations (University of Nottingham) Ballots & Bullets blog, 2016-present.
- Editor & social media officer at the Asia Research Institute Asia Dialogue blog, 2017-2019.
- Invited to contribute commentaries for the Asia-Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation, 2018-present.
- Treasurer, Association of Southeast Asian Studies, United Kingdom (ASEASUK), 2018-present.
- Digital Media Ambassador, Department of American & Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham, 2018-present.
- University and College Union (UCU) Hourly-Paid & Casualised Workers departmental liaison for American & Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham, 2018-present.
- Organising committee for the International History and Diplomacy Research Group, 2019-present. Involved in steering organisation through conference organisation, grant reviews, membership and funding drives, and maintenance of online content.