Publication Date

September 1, 2004

Perspectives Section


Established in 1967, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) promotes excellence in research and teaching in the history of U.S. foreign relations.

SHAFR sponsors two major periodicals. Diplomatic History, the journal of record in the field, disseminates the finest scholarship in its articles, in-depth book reviews, round-table discussions of major issues, and other special items. Passport: The Newsletter of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations publishes essays on research in foreign and domestic archives, the teaching of diplomatic history, and historiographical and methodological issues.

Recently SHAFR also sponsored publication of a massive bibliography, American Foreign Relations since 1600: A Guide to the Literature (ABC-CLIO, 2003). Compiled by Robert L. Beisner and 32 contributing editors, the two-volume guide contains over 16,000 annotated entries arranged in 32 chapters.

SHAFR sponsors numerous awards and fellowships including three annual dissertation fellowships, an annual fellowship to fund the study of a foreign language, and a biannual prize for the best dissertation in the field. SHAFR also awards annual prizes for the best article, the best first book, and the best senior book in the field and a biannual prize for the best edited work. It also issues an annual lecture prize to an outstanding junior member of the society and a biannual lifetime achievement award to a senior colleague. A special program designed to promote excellence in scholarship by women alternately awards a biannual research fellowship and a biannual book prize.

The society holds annual conferences, usually in June. A typical conference attracts 300–400 attendees from around the world and features 45–55 panels of two to three papers as well as a presidential address. SHAFR also sponsors sessions and hosts luncheon meetings at the annual meetings of the AHA and the Organization of American Historians.

SHAFR has some 1,600 members residing in 42 countries. SHAFR is governed by an elected Council and President and managed by an Executive Director. Information on membership, prizes, publications, and other aspects of this vibrant professional society may be found at Inquiries may be sent to

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