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Name: Elliot Newbold

PhD: American & Canadian Studies

Thesis Title: Selling American Empire: Cold War Public Diplomacy and the American Decolonisation of the Philippines, 1945-1957 (working title)

 

Thesis Description:

My research explores America's decolonisation of the Philippines through the lens of public diplomacy. It poses three critical questions: how did American actors sell Philippine decolonisation during the global Cold War, what were the Filipino responses from elite and popular perspectives, and how did these responses influence the intellectual development of nationalism in the decolonising world?

The United States granted the Philippines independence on 4 July 1946 after forty-eight years of colonial rule. This critical event in Philippine-American history intersected with the emergence of a global Cold War, where strategic, cultural, and ideological divisions between the Soviet Union and United States produced distinctly different visions of the decolonising world. Such division fostered a competition amongst the superpowers to consolidate their influence over emerging states. After World War II, this struggle played out on a global stage, where nations like the Philippines navigated a complex terrain of colonial conflict and Cold War rivalry to forge their path to nationhood.

Utilising the islands' significance as a forerunner for post-war Asian decolonisation, the research illuminates attempts by U.S. officials 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. The project addresses U.S. public diplomacy in the Philippines during the Truman and Eisenhower years, examining how historical containers like the emergence of the Cold War, the Point IV programme, the conflict in Korea, and the movement for non-alignment interacted with Philippine decolonisation to produce positive affirmations of American empire. Employing a transnational cast of historical actors, including US colonialists like Millard Tydings, public intellectuals and journalists like Joseph Hayden and Russel Brines, elite and popular Filipino figures like Manuel Roxas and Luis Taruc, as well as international actors in Britain and across the globe, the research probes the competing ways Filipinos understood and contested American propaganda, and analyses how these responses expanded outwards to inform international conversations around empire and decolonisation in Cold War Asia.

 

Supervisors and Institution(s): 

Professor Paul McGarr, University of Nottingham

Professor Bevan Sewell, University of Nottingham 

 

Publications (please include full details with page nos. or web links):

  • 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]

Research Activities:

  • 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.

Conference Papers:

  • Solving the "Philippine Problem": Frank Murphy, the Great Depression, and the Creation of the Philippine Commonwealth, 1933-36. Presented at the 'America in the Asian Century' symposium at the University of Nottingham in March 2017. Also served as organiser.
  • A New Deal for the PhilippinesFrank Murphy, the Great Depression, and the Creation of the Philippine Commonwealth, 1933-1936. Presented at the Bristol Institute for Research in Humanities & Arts (BIRTHA) postgraduate conference, 'Empires & Nations: Beyond the British Case', at the University of Bristol in April 2017.
  • The Perfect Place to "Win Friends and Influence People": Paul V. McNutt, the Cold War, and the Fledgling Philippine State, 1945-1947. Presented at the 'International History and Diplomacy' conference at Liverpool John Moores University in May 2017.
  • Imagining Independence: American Visions of Philippine Freedom in the Global Cold War, 1945-1947. Presented at the 'International History and Diplomacy' conference at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, in May 2018.
  • Philippine Freedom and the Global Cold War, 1945-1947. Presented at the annual conference of the 'Historians of the Twentieth Century United States' at Madingley Hall, University of Cambridge in June 2018.
  • The Perfect Place to 'Win Friends and Influence People': US Cold War Public Diplomacy in the Philippines, 1945-1947. Presented at the inaugural postgraduate conference of the American Politics Group (APG) at the University of Reading in July 2018.
  • US Cold War Public Diplomacy in the Philippines, 1945-1947. Presented at the British International Studies conference, Liverpool John Moores University, in September 2018.

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)

Professional Activities:

  • 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 &Bulletsblog, 2016-present.
  • Two-time winner of the Asia Research Institute Tomlinson Dissertation Travel Grant, 2015-2016 & 2016-2017.
  • Winner of AHRC Midlands 3Cities Masters Scholarship, 2016-2017.
  • 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.
  • Winner of the School of Cultures, Languages, and Area Studies doctoral studentship, 2018.
  • 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.

 

Research Interests:

  • History of Decolonisation
  • History of Public Diplomacy
  • Imperial/ Colonial History
  • Southeast Asian History
  • US Diplomatic History
  • US-Philippine Relations
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