Washington History Seminar | Days of Opportunity: The United States and Afghanistan Before the Soviet Invasion

Event Details

End: March 18, 2024
More Info: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_AVA1fjIqROSaEC87BMX-HA

Join Robert Rakove (Stanford Univ.) and Elisabeth Leake (Tufts Univ.) for a discussion on Dr. Rakove’s book, Days of Opportunity. In his work, Rakove elucidates the profound and far-reaching impact of American diplomats, aid workers and corporations, from the interwar years to 1979.  Far from being marginal observers, Americans undertook significant, consequential efforts within Afghanistan. Their choices played a pivotal and tragic role in Afghanistan’s emergence as a violent battleground at the end of the 1970s.

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Robert Rakove is a lecturer in international relations at Stanford University. He received his doctorate from the University of Virginia in 2008. He is also the author of Kennedy, Johnson, and the Nonaligned World, published in 2012 by Cambridge University Press. His favorite works of history include Mary Dudziak’s Cold War Civil Rights (2000), Fredrik Logevall’s Choosing War (1999), and Robert McMahon’s The Cold War on the Periphery (1994).

Elisabeth Leake is the Lee E. Dirks Professor in Diplomatic History and Associate Professor of History at the Fletcher School, which she joined in 2022. She studied global history at Yale University and the University of Cambridge, where she completed her PhD in 2013. Dr. Leake's research to date has been broadly focused on the global histories of decolonization and the Cold War. Her first book, The Defiant Border: The Afghan-Pakistan Borderlands in the Era of Decolonization, 1936–65, rethinks the political development of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. She asks why this region has remained largely autonomous to this day, despite Pakistani and Afghan state-building activities and interference from British and later American policymakers. Her second book, Afghan Crucible: The Soviet Invasion and the Making of Modern Afghanistan, was published by Oxford University Press in 2022 and won the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations' Robert H. Ferrell Prize in 2023. It was the subject of a 2022 Washington History Seminar session.