Name: Elliot Newbold
PhD: American & Canadian Studies
Thesis Title: Imagining Independence: The United States, Public Diplomacy, and Philippine Freedom in the Age of Decolonization, 1945-1960 (working title)
My research explores the US decolonization of the Philippines via public diplomacy. It asks three questions: how did Filipino and American actors sell Philippine decolonization during the global Cold War? What were the Filipino responses from elite and popular perspectives? And how did these responses influence the development of nationalism and nonalignment in the global south?
The United States granted the Philippines independence on 4 July 1946 after forty-eight years of colonial rule. With a timeline built around the Philippines’ decolonization, the project covers the Truman and Eisenhower administrations in their entirety. It asks how these administrations utilized the islands’ international significance as a forerunner for Asian decolonization, illuminating attempts to win friends and influence people in the Cold War battle for hearts and minds by projecting positive affirmations of Philippine freedom across the world.
Critically, the research recovers and reassesses the Philippines’ role in directing American responses to decolonization. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it argues the United States developed a robust response to the Cold War in Asia, one that highlighted the importance of appealing to hearts and minds outside the schema of east vs. west by using the decolonization of the Philippines to project American ambitions of economic, political, and military development to new and emerging states.
The project probes the tension between engagement and isolation that underscores current American approaches to the continent. It impacts enduring foreign policy conversations around American imperialism, where the rise of China and the onset of an “Asian Century” has illuminated the contested nature of American leadership across the globe. Asking how the US constructed and construed its influence in Asia offers salient lessons for understanding America’s future in the region, particularly amidst a perceivably withdrawing America and an increasingly assertive Asia.
Supervisors and Institution(s):
- Professor Paul McGarr, University of Nottingham
- Professor Bevan Sewell, University of Nottingham
- Book Review - Heer, Paul J. Mr. X and the Pacific: George F. Kennan and American Policy in East Asia. London: Cornell University Press, 2018. Journal of American Studies [forthcoming]
Selected Studentships, Fellowships, and Grants:
- Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Midlands 3Cities Doctoral Scholarship, 2018- present.
- Association of Southeast Asian Studies (ASEASUK) postgraduate research grant, July 2019.
- Midlands 3Cities Student Development Fund research grant, June 2019.
- Harry S. Truman Presidential Library research grant, May 2019.
- Midlands 3Cities Student Development Fund conference grant, February 2019.
- British International Studies Association US Foreign Policy Working Group conference grant, September 2018.
- Political Studies Association American Politics Group conference grant, July 2018.
- School of Cultures, Languages & Area Studies Doctoral Studentship, 2018.
- Two-time winner of the Asia Research Institute Tomlinson Dissertation Travel Grant, 2015-2016 & 2016-2017.
- Midlands 3Cities Nottingham master’s studentship, 2016-2017.
- School of Cultures, Languages & Area Studies Postgraduate Research Grant, April 2016.
- Midlands 3Cities funded research trip to College Park, MD to visit the US National Archives, February 2020.
- ASEASUK & Midlands 3Cities funded research trip to Manila, Philippines to visit the Main Library (UP - Diliman), Jorge B Vargas Centre, Jose P Laurel Library, Department of Foreign Affairs Archive, and the private papers of Leon Ma Guerrero, October 2019.
- Midlands 3Cities & Truman Library funded research trip to the United States to visit the Truman & Eisenhower presidential libraries in Independence, MO & Abilene, KS, June 2019.
- Asia Research Institute funded research trip to Washington DC to visit the US National Archives, Library of Congress, and papers of Millard E. Tydings (University of Maryland), February 2018.
- Asia Research Institute funded research trip to Manila, Philippines to undertake archival work in the National Library of the Philippines, Main Library (University of the Philippines, Diliman), and American Historical Collection (Rizal Library, Ateneo de Manila University), October 2016.
- School of Cultures, Languages, and Area Studies funded research trip to the United States to visit Bentley and Lilly libraries (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Indiana University, Bloomington), August-September, 2016.
- A ‘Bridge’ or a ‘Chasm’?: Philippine Independence and Cold War Public Diplomacy in the Global South, 1945-1947. International History and Diplomacy Conference, Liverpool John Moores University, May 2019. Served as conference organiser.
- The Perfect Place to ‘Win Friends and Influence People’: Cold War Public Diplomacy and the American Decolonization of the Philippines, 1945-1947. British Association for American Studies conference, University of Sussex, April 2019. Organised panel.
- US Cold War Public Diplomacy in the Philippines, 1945-1947. British International Studies conference, Liverpool John Moores University, September 2018.
- Philippine Freedom and the Global Cold War, 1945-1947. Historians of the Twentieth Century United States conference, University of Cambridge, June 2018.
- Imagining Independence: American Visions of Philippine Freedom in the Global Cold War, 1945-1947. International History and Diplomacy conference, Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, May 2018.
- Solving the ‘Philippine Problem’: Frank Murphy, the Great Depression, and the Creation of the Philippine Commonwealth, 1933-1936. America in the Asian Century symposium, University of Nottingham, March 2017. Served as conference organiser.
Research Institutes and Clusters:
- American Politics Group (APG), Political Studies Association (PSA)
- Asia Research Institute (ARI), University of Nottingham
- Association of Southeast Asian Studies, United Kingdom (ASEASUK)
- British Association for American Studies (BAAS)
- Department of American & Canadian Studies Politics & Foreign Policy Cluster, University of Nottingham
- Historians of the Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS)
- Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR)
- US Foreign Policy Working Group, British International Studies Association (BISA)
- Winner of 2014/15 University of Hull Departmental Prize for Outstanding Undergraduate Dissertation.
- Contributing author for the School of Politics & International Relations (University of Nottingham) Ballots & Bullets blog, 2016-present.
- Editor & social media officer at the Asia Research Institute Asia Dialogue blog, 2017-present.
- Invited to contribute commentaries for the Asia-Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation, 2018-present.
- Treasurer, Association of Southeast Asian Studies, United Kingdom (ASEASUK), 2018-present.
- Digital Media Ambassador, Department of American & Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham, 2018-present.
- University and College Union (UCU) Hourly-Paid & Casualised Workers departmental liaison for American & Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham, 2018-present.
- Organising committee for the International History and Diplomacy Research Group, 2019-present. Involved in steering organisation through conference organisation, grant reviews, membership and funding drives, and maintenance of online content.
- History of Decolonisation
- History of Public Diplomacy
- Imperial/ Colonial History
- Southeast Asian History
- US Diplomatic History
- US-Philippine Relations
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