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The Legacy of J. William Fulbright

Policy, Power, and Ideology

This insightful collection of essays details the political life of one of the most prominent and gifted American statesmen of the twentieth century. From his early training in international law to his five terms in the US Senate, J. William Fulbright (1905–1995) had a profound influence on US foreign policy, and his vision for mutual understanding shaped the extraordinary exchange program bearing his name.

As a senator for Arkansas for thirty years and the longest serving chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Fulbright was one of the most influential figures of United States politics. His criticism of US involvement in Vietnam exemplified his belief in the effective management of international norms by international organizations—including the United Nations, which was the subject of his first bill in Congress. Yet alongside his commitments to liberal internationalism and multilateral governance, Fulbright was a southern politician who embraced the interests of the region's conservative white population. This juxtaposition of biased and broad-minded objectives shows a divide at the center of Fulbright's vision, which still has consequences for America's global policies today.

This multidimensional volume covers Fulbright's development as a national and global voice on foreign relations, as he wrestled with the political controversies of the US South during the civil rights movement, worked with and challenged executive power, and shaped the Fulbright program for educational exchange.

About the Authors

Alessandro Brogi is professor of history at the University of Arkansas. He is the author of L'Italia e l'egemonia americana nel Mediterraneo, A Question of Self-Esteem: The United States and the Cold War Choices in France and Italy, 1944–1958, and Confronting America: The Cold War between the United States and the Communists in France and Italy.

Giles Scott-Smith holds the Roosevelt Chair in New Diplomatic History at Leiden University and is academic director of the Roosevelt Institute for American Studies. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books, including Reasserting America in the 1970s: US Public Diplomacy and the Rebuilding of America's Image Abroad and Transnational Anti-Communism and the Cold War: Agents, Activities, and Networks. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Contemporary History and New Global Studies, and he is the founding editor of Diplomatica: A Journal of Diplomacy and Society.

David J. Snyder is clinical associate professor of history, global studies, and US foreign relations at the University of South Carolina. His scholarship has appeared in leading journals such as Diplomatic History and the Journal of Cold War Studies, as well as numerous anthologies. He is coeditor of Rebellion in Black and White: Southern Student Activism in the 1960s and Reasserting America in the 1970s: US Public Diplomacy and the Rebuilding of America's Image Abroad.

Reviews

"This is a first-rate collection of essays by established and upcoming scholars that draw upon a variety of archival and other primary sources to highlight various aspects of William Fulbright's career. While shedding new light on Fulbright, the book also broadens our understanding of the vital role Congress has played in shaping American foreign policy."—Michael Brenes, author of For Might and Right: The Cold War and the Remaking of American Democracy (forthcoming)

"This outstanding collection reassesses the life and legacy of one of the most influential legislators in American history. The authors bring a fresh international perspective to their evaluation of Senator Fulbright's signature accomplishment: the impactful cultural exchange programs that bear his name. But the authors also go much further to assess the entire liberal internationalist project that Fulbright helped inspire. Fair-minded and appropriately critical, with useful insights about the racial, gendered, and class dimensions of Fulbright's ideals and actions, the book is sure to stimulate lively debate. A must-read for anyone interested in the role of ideas, culture, and domestic politics in US foreign policy."—Kenneth Osgood, coeditor of Winning While Losing: Civil Rights, the Conservative Movement, and the Presidency from Nixon to Obama

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