"The Ends of Modernization: Nicaragua and the United States in the Cold War Era"

Event Details

End: March 20, 2023
Contact: rwheatley@historians.org

This event is part of the Washington History Seminar series. It is cosponsored by the AHA and the Woodrow Wilson Center and features author David Lee and commentators Cynthia Aronson and Eline van Ommen. Register here. 

The Ends of Modernization studies the relations between Nicaragua and the United States in the crucial years during and after the Cold War. David Johnson Lee charts the transformation of the ideals of modernization, national autonomy, and planned development as they gave way to human rights protection, neoliberalism, and sustainability. Using archival material, newspapers, literature, and interviews with historical actors in countries across Latin America, the United States, and Europe, Lee demonstrates how conflict between the United States and Nicaragua shaped larger international development policy and transformed the Cold War.

David Johnson Lee is a professor at Temple Univesrity where he also recieved his Ph.D. He is the author of The Ends of Modernization: Nicauragua and the United States in the Cold War (Cornell University Press, 2021) as well as many other reviews and articles. 

Cynthia J. Arnson, a distinguished fellow and former director of the Wilson Center’s Latin American Program, is one of the country’s foremost experts on the Spanish-speaking countries of the Western Hemisphere. During more than 20 years at Wilson, she has testified before the House and Senate and has produced scores of publications on Colombia, Central America, Argentina, Venezuela, security and organized crime, energy, human rights, and U.S. policy in Latin America. A former foreign policy aide in Congress, Arnson has also held positions at Human Rights Watch and in academia.

Eline van Ommen is a Lecturer in Contemporary History at the University of Leeds. Her specialities include the Cold War in Central America, transnational activism, and revolutionary diplomacy. Eline’s forthcoming monograph (University of California Press) deals with the international and transnational history of the Nicaraguan Revolution, focusing specifically on revolutionary Nicaragua’s relations with Western European countries and peoples. It draws on archives and oral history interviews in Nicaragua, Cuba, the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom. She previously taught at Utrecht University and obtained her PhD in International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2020.