Photo of Andrew M. Johnston

Andrew M. Johnston

Associate Professor - Late 19th to 20th c. United States history; imperialism and foreign relations; liberalism and pluralism in American social thought; history of international thought; nuclear strategy; international feminist pacifism; Pragmatism; international history of the social sciences

Degrees:B.A. (Toronto), M.A. (Yale), M.Phil. (Cambridge), Ph.D. (Cambridge)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 4154
Office:414 Paterson Hall

My current research examines the crisis that afflicted the North Atlantic world’s industrial-imperial societies at the beginning of the 20th century. The project began as a study of American progressive liberal internationalism before the First World War but has expanded into a comprehensive history of the diplomatic, economic, social, intellectual, and transnational filaments that crossed the North Atlantic in the generation before and during the war. It aims to understand how different nation-states responded to the internal fissures induced by the rise of industrial labour, women’s activism, and new voices of colonial/imperial resistance—in short, calls for an expansion of the concept of humanity, self-determination, and human rights that destabilized the existing social order. The responses of these imperial states pointed, ultimately, toward the catastrophic war of 1914, but also past it, toward a world of liberal-capitalist governance through new institutional networks. In the short term, I am writing a history of the 1919 Zurich Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom as a way of understanding how anti-national, dissenting organizations reassembled after the war and advanced a more radical critique of the intersection of national polities and international relations. The Zurich Congress articulated the idea that domestic human rights—sexual, economic, racial—were the only legitimate bases for a new international order. In this claim, they developed (often) uneasy ties with socialist and colonial agents as well. But the argument that, collectively, these groups advanced a new ontology of international relations rooted more explicitly in concepts of human equality can be traced in part to this struggle against war.

In a general sense, I have mostly been a historian of modern U.S. foreign relations, although the label itself is limiting. Having studied and written on NATO nuclear strategy in the 1950s, I belatedly came to the conclusion that much of what I had been doing as an international historian was barely scraping the surface. Understanding how states act on behalf of their nominal people involves, at the very least, an understanding of how such peoples are constituted historically as an identity, and how that sense of identity is postulated against a world of other identities. I was interested in George Herbert Mead’s microsociological studies of the self and am thus inclined toward a broadly social understanding of nation-state interaction, which involves trying to look at the evolution of those agents who represent the state and those—capital, religion, culture, ideas—that often transcend it. All of this is to say, that I am deeply interested not only in history, but in the history of international relations theory, as well social and cultural theory, gender, race, imperialism, post-colonialism, the history and practice of Pragmatism, among others. I have also taught, from time to time, U.S. cultural and environmental history.

Areas of research

Humanitarian intervention, human rights, power, and ideologies of “the human”

United States history in a global context

Transnational history of the social sciences

Gender, international history, cosmopolitanism, imperialism, and liberalism

Pragmatism, feminism, and social theory

A list of my current research projects can be found on my website:

Honours and Awards

2022 Visiting Professor, John F. Kennedy Institute and Friedrich Meinecke Institute, Freie Universität Berlin

2016 Favourite Faculty Award, Carleton Residence Community

2013 Nominated for a Graduate Mentor Award, Carleton University

2009 Nominated for TVOntario’s “Best Lecturer” competition

2006 Visiting Professor in American Studies, Seminar für Zeitgeschichte, Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany

2003-2005 University Students’ Council Teaching Honour Roll Certificate, University of Western Ontario

2001 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Occasional Conference Grant

1999-2003 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Standard Research Grant

Selected Publications

“‘The Whole Organism of Humanity’: The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s Campaign for Women’s Rights as Universal Rights, c. 1919,” in in Sönke Kunkel, Jessica Gienow-Hecht, and Sebastian Jobs, eds., Visions of Humanity: Historical Cultural Practices since 1850 (New York: Berghahn Books, 2023).

Review of Jonathan Levy’s Ages of American Capitalism: A History of the United States (New York: Random House,2021), in Economic Sociology: Perspectives and Conversations, vol. 24, no. 2 (March 2023): 36-38.

Review of Andrew Priest’s Designs on Empire: America’s Rise to Power in the Age of European Imperialism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2021) in Passport: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Review (April 2022).

Andrew M. Johnston, Carly Cuifo, and Jenny Ellison, eds., Employing History: A Guide to Graduate School and Navigating the Job Market (The Canadian Historical Association and the American Historical Association, 2020), 133 pp.

Review of Tony Smith’s Why Wilson matters? The origin of American liberal internationalism and its crisis today (Princeton University Press, 2017) in Passport: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Review (April 2018)

“Emily Greene Balch,” entry in Opposition to War: An Encyclopedia of United States Peace and Antiwar Movements (ABC-Clio, 2018).

“Julia Grace Wales,” entry in Opposition to War: An Encyclopedia of United States Peace and Antiwar Movements (ABC-Clio 201).

“’Despite Wars, Scholars Remain the Great Workers of the International’: American Sociologists and French Sociology During the First World War,” The Academic World in the Era of the Great War, ed. by Marie-Eve Chagnon and Tomas Irish (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)

“Dwight Eisenhower as NATO commander,” in Chester Pach, ed., A Companion to Dwight D. Eisenhower (Blackwell, 2017)

Review of Andrew Johnstone, Against immediate evil: American internationalists and the four freedoms on the eve of World War II (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014) in The Canadian Journal of History 51, 3 (2016): 637–639.

“Jeanne Halbwachs, International Feminist Pacifism, and France’s Société d’Études Documentaires et Critiques sur la Guerre,” Peace and Change 41, 1 (January 2016): 17-31.

“The Historiography of American Intervention in the First World War,” Passport: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Review, 45, 1 (April 2014): 22-29.

“The disappearance of Emily G. Balch, Social Scientist,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 13, 2 (April 2014): 166-199.

“The Neoconservatives and Theodore Roosevelt,” in Serge Ricard and Claire Delahaye, eds., The Heritage of Theodore Roosevelt (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2012).

“Sex and Gender on Roosevelt’s America,” in Serge Ricard, ed., A Companion to Theodore Roosevelt (Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, 2011): 112-134.

Roundtable review of Shane Maddock, Nuclear Apartheid: the Quest for American Atomic Supremacy from World War II to the Present (UNC Press, 2010) in H-Diplo, January-February 2011.

“Mead, Addams, Balch: Feminism, Pragmatism, and the Vicissitudes of Liberal Internationalism,” in Claire Delahaye and Serge Ricard (eds.), La Grande Guerre et le combat féministe. (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2009)

“‘There must be two Americas’: Obama’s AfPak War and the Pathologies of Global Disorder,” in “‘We are going to stay long enough to set up their own institutions’: Obama and the ‘AfPak’ Question,” roundtable forum with Scott Lucas, Artemy Kalinovsky, Giles Scott-Smith, and Marilyn Young, in NeoAmericanist 4, 2 (summer 2009).

“’A functioning organism with its own voice’: the Temporary Council Committee and the strategic origins of an Atlantic Community, 1951-1952,” in Valérie Aubourg, Gérard Bossuat and Giles Scott-Smith, eds., Communauté européene, communauté atlantique? (Paris: Soleb, 2008)

Hegemony and culture in the origins of NATO nuclear strategy, 1945-1954. (New York: Palgrave- Macmillan Press, 2005)

“’Disembodied military planning’: the construction of the Medium Term Defense Plan and the diplomacy of NATO conventional strategy, 1948-1950.” Diplomacy and Statecraft, vol. 12, no. 2 (June 2001), 185-230.

“Mr. Slessor goes to Washington: the influence of the British Global Strategy Paper on the Eisenhower New Look,” Diplomatic History, vol. 22, no. 3 (Summer 1998), 361-398.

Recent Conference and Colloquium Presentations

Jenaer Gespräche: “The US in the Cold War at home and abroad,” Discussant on a panel titled, “Make Love Not War: U.S.-American Peace Efforts in the 1960s,” Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, July 1-2, 2022.

“Another Marshall Plan? Myths and Truths 75 Years Later.” Participant in a panel (with Jessica Gienow-Hecht, Sergey Lagodinsky and Petra Pinzler) sponsored by the U.S. Embassy Berlin, the Cluster of Excellence SCRIPTS, and the Humboldt Lab of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Humboldt Forum, Berlin, June 10, 2022

“The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the First World War, and the Origins of ‘Human Security’”, History Research Colloquium, John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Free University of Berlin, May 16, 2022.

“Building Internationalist Norms in the 1920s: The Summer Schools of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom,” for a panel entitled Liberal Internationalism as Practice: Conflicting Norms and Moralities in Constructing a New International Order in the 1920s, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) Annual Meeting, June 18-20, 2020, New Orleans, LA, USA (* The conference was cancelled because of the pandemic)

“Zurich 1919: War, Peace, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s Feminist Critique of International Relations,” The People’s Conference: The Transnational Legacies of 1919. La conférence des peuples : les héritages transnationaux de 1919, Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston (Ontario), November 7-8 2019

“The Women’s International League for Peace And Freedom’s Feminist Critique of the League of Nations, 1919-1924,” A Century of Internationalisms: the Promise and Legacies of the League of Nations, 18-20, 2019, Lisbon, Portugal.

“’A Little Child, Born of Dissipated Parents’:
The Women’s International League for Peace And Freedom’s Feminist Critique of the League of Nations, 1919-1924,” Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) Annual Meeting, June 22, 2019, Arlington, Virginia, USA

“Human rights, the Great War, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s critique of nationalism,” Visions of Humanity: Culture and International History VI, John-F.-Kennedy-Institut für Nordamerikastudien, Freie Universität Berlin, 6-8 May 2019.

“Apathy, passive resistance and cynicism: Randolph Bourne’s sociology of the liberal state,” Canadian Association of American Studies (CAAS) conference, Fredericton, New Brunswick, October 21-23, 2016.

“Jeanne Halbwachs and the Société d’Études documentaires et critiques sur la guerre,” World War I: Dissent, Activism, and Transformation, Georgian Court University, Lakewood, New Jersey, October 17-18, 2014.

“The Theory and Practice of Gender in International History: What Transnational Feminists have Taught Us,” at The Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, University of Toronto, Toronto, May 25, 2014.

“Henri Bergson and the Ontology of Diplomacy,” for a panel entitled Ideas in Transit: Intellectual Exchanges as Foreign Relations at the Turn to the Twentieth Century, at the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) Annual Meeting, Lexington, Kentucky, 20 June 2014.

“American Sociologists and International Sociology during the First World War,” The Academic World in the Era of the Great War, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, organised by the Centre for War Studies at Trinity College and the Centre canadien des études allemandes et européennes at the Université de Montréal, August 14-16, 2014.

Recent Graduate Supervisions

Mat Czipf (M.A. Thesis, 2020-2022), “The KKK and the World: A Quest for Friendship in a World Rejecting White Supremacy.”

Alex King (M.A. Thesis (Institute of Political Economy) 2020-2022)(With Prof. Melissa Haussman, Political Science), “Trump’s Unconventional Populism: A Historical Interrogation of Conservative Populism in the U.S. Using a Gramscian Interpretation of Common Sense.”

Adrian Harewood (MA), “The End of Respectability Politics: The United States Civil Rights Movement, Liberalism and The Vietnam War” (2021)

James Gravelle (MRE), “Social Media and the Internet as a Tool of Nationalism: the Ukrainian Case” (2020)

Carlie Visser (M.A., Institute of Political Economy) “Re-examining Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady: Helen Gahagan Douglas, Gender, and New Deal Liberalism in the United States Senate Election in California, 1950” (2018)

Dany Guay-Belanger (MA) (with S. Graham), “Deadplay: A Methodology for the Preservation and Study of Videogames as Cultural Heritage Artifacts” (2018)

William Teal (MA) (co-supervised with Alek Bennett), “’Cure is a matter of mind as well as body’: Disabled Veterans And The Development Of International And Humanitarian Rehabilitation Activism.” (2017)

Evan Sidebottom (MA), “The Man Who Could Go Either Way: The Many Faces of Cowboy Masculinity in 1950s American Film and Advertising.” (2016)

Lee Benson (MA) (with Prof. Jim Opp), “Driving Nationalism: The Promotion of American Ideals and Identity in Automobile Film Advertisements 1930-1955.” (2015)

Tyler Sinclair (MA) (with Prof. John Walsh), “Sight Lines and Cross Flows: The Turn of the Century Planning of Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway.” (2014)

Guy Massie (MA), “Masculinity, Science, and the Mastery of Primitive Spaces in Turn-of-the-Century America, 1880-1930.” (2014)

Alana Toulin (MA), “Pure Food, Better Lives: Morality and Authenticity in the Promotion of Pure Food in the United States, 1890-1920.” (2014)

Maureen Mahoney (PhD): “When Europe Re-Built American Cities: Daniel H. Burnham’s City Beautiful Movement, Jane Addams’ Hull-House, and Emergent Internationalism, 1890-1920.” (2013)

Brian Foster (PhD): “Toward an Expert Peace: American Social Science and Liberal Internationalism.” (2012)

Michael Brison (MA Research Paper). “God is not neutral: George W. Bush, civil religion and the meaning of 9.11.” (2010).

Sean Curley, (MA Research Paper). “Churchills and Chamberlains: the lesson of Munich ands the rise of neoconservatism.” (2010).

Liam Kennedy (co-supervision with Audra Diptee), (MA Research Paper), “Performing slavery at Colonial Williamsburg: revision, trauma, controversy and the Department of African American Interpretation and Presentation, 1979-1994.” (2009).

Melissa Horne (co-supervision with Pamela Walker as principal supervisor) (MA thesis), “The development of the concept of ‘race’ in the formative African American academies of the South from 1880-1930.” (2008).

Current Graduate Supervisions

Jonnathan Koonings (MA Thesis), (2023-25)