School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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Maria Ryan

Associate Professor in American History, Faculty of Arts


Expertise Summary

My research interests are broadly in the field of post-Cold War US foreign policy, in particular the development of neoconservatism; intellectuals and foreign policy; humanitarian interventionism; the Bush administration and the 'Global War on Terror'; as well as the history of the CIA. My second monograph, Full Spectrum Dominance: Irregular Warfare and the War on Terror on the Periphery was published by Stanford University Press in late 2019. This book examines the smaller or 'peripheral' fronts of the U.S 'war on terror' in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Philippines, and Georgia and the Caspian Sea region, as well as the development and application of 'irregular warfare' techniques in these regions. The emphasis on 'irregular' tactics was part of a broader project described by the Pentagon as "full spectrum dominance" - dominance across the entire spectrum of warfare, from conventional inter-state war through to non-traditional 'irregular' forms of conflict.

My first monograph, Neoconservatism and the New American Century was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2010. A collection of essays, co-edited with my colleague Bevan Sewell, was published by the University Press of Kentucky in 2017 as Foreign Policy at the Periphery: The Shifting Margins of U.S. International Relations Since World War II.

I am currently working on a British Academy-funded project about the US-China 'tech war'.

I am a regular contributor to The Conversation

From 2019-21, I was on secondment to the Foreign Office as a Senior US Research Analyst.

I am happy to supervise post-graduate students who are interested in any aspects of post-Cold War US foreign policy.

Selected Publications

  • RYAN, MARIA, 2020. 'Enormous opportunities' and 'hot frontiers': Sub-Saharan Africa in U.S. grand strategy, 2001-present' International History Review. 42(1), 155-175
  • MARIA RYAN, 2019. Full Spectrum Dominance: Irregular Warfare and the War on Terror Stanford University Press.
  • 2018. The Rise and Demise of American Unipolarism: Neoconservatism and U.S. Foreign Policy 1989-2009 American Studies Journal. (In Press.)
  • MARIA RYAN, 2018. "Stability Not Chaos"? Donald Trump and the World - An Early Assessment. In: MARA OLIVA and MARK SHANAHAN, eds., The Trump Presidency: From Campaign Trail to World Stage Palgrave Macmillan. 205-226
  • SEWELL, BEVAN and RYAN, MARIA, eds., 2017. Foreign Policy at the Periphery: The Shifting Margins of International Relations Since World War 2 University of Kentucky Press.
  • RYAN, MARIA, 2017. ‘The “War on Terror” and the New Periphery’. In: SEWELL, BEVAN and RYAN, MARIA, eds., Foreign Policy at the Periphery: The Shifting Margins of International Relations The University of Kentucky Press. 336-364
  • MARIA RYAN, 2014. Wilful Blindness or Blissful Ignorance?: The United States and the Successful Denuclearisation of Iraq Intelligence and National Security. 29(3), 458-486
  • MARIA RYAN, 2014. "Full Spectrum Dominance": Donald Rumsfeld, the Department of Defense, and US Irregular Warfare Strategy, 2001-08 Small Wars and Insurgencies. 25(1), 41-68
  • RYAN, M., 2011. Bush's "useful idiots": 9/11, the liberal hawks, and the cooption of the "War on Terror" Journal of American Studies. 45(4), 667-693
  • RYAN, MARIA, 2010. Neoconservatism and the new American century Palgrave Macmillan.
  • RYAN, M., 2010. Neoconservatism and the American public: was 9/11 a hegemonic moment?. In: JOHNSTONE, A. and LAVILLE, H., eds., The US public and American foreign policy Routledge. 155-171
  • RYAN, MARIA, 2010. "Exporting Democracy"?: Neoconservatism and the Limits of Military Intervention, 1989-2008 Diplomacy & Statecraft. 21(3), 491-515
  • LUCAS, SCOTT AND RYAN, MARIA, 2008. Against Everyone and No-one: The Failure of the Unipolar in Iraq and Beyond. In: RYAN, DAVID AND KIELY PATRICK, ed., American and Iraq: Policy-Making, Intervention and Regional Politics Since 1958 1st ed.. Routledge, London. 154-180
  • RYAN, M., 2006. Filling in the 'Unknowns': Hypothesis-Based Intelligence and the Rumsfeld Commission Intelligence and National Security. 21(2), 286-315

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