Penny Von Eschen
Professor of History
William R Kenan, Jr Professor in American Studies
Office Hours: Wednesdays, 11:00am-1:00pm and by appointment
Ph.D. Columbia University, Department of History, 1994.
M.A. Columbia University, Department of History, 1987.
B.A. Northwestern University, Philosophy, 1982.
Penny M. Von Eschen is William R. Kennan Jr. Professor of American Studies and Professor of History and at the University of Virginia. Her scholarship is situated at the intersections of African American history, cultural history, the global cold war, and the study of the United States in global and transnational dimensions. She received her Ph.D. from the department of History, Columbia University in 1994. She is author of Paradoxes of Nostalgia: Cold War Triumphalism and Global Disorder Since 1989” (Duke University Press, 2022); Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War, Harvard University Press, 2004, and Race against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937-1957, Cornell University Press, 1997. She is a co-editor along with Manisha Sinha of Contested Democracy: Freedom, Race, and Power in American History, which includes, Penny M. Von Eschen, “Duke Ellington Plays Baghdad: Rethinking Hard and Soft Power from the Outside In,” Columbia University Press, 2007; and American Studies: An Anthology, Janice Radway, Kevin Gaines, Barry Shank, and Penny Von Eschen editors, Blackwell Press, January 2009. She co-curated “Jam Sessions: American’s Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World,” a photography exhibition on the jazz ambassador tours, with Meridian International Center, Washington D.C., that opened in April 2008, and toured globally as well as in the United States. She is currently working on a book project exploring crises of authority in anticolonial counterpublics in the years following WWII.
Paradoxes of Nostalgia: Cold War Triumphalism and Global Disorder Since1989, Duke University Press, 2022.
Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War, Harvard University Press, 2004, First Runner-Up for the John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association, 2005.
Race against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937-1957, Cornell University Press, 1997; winner of the 1998 Stuart L. Bernath book prize of Historians of Foreign Relations; and the Myers Outstanding Book Award, of the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America.
Contested Democracy: Freedom, Race, and Power in American History, Manisha Sinha and Penny Von Eschen co-editors; includes, Penny M. Von Eschen, “Duke Ellington Plays Baghdad: Rethinking Hard and Soft Power from the Outside In,” Columbia University Press, 2007.
American Studies: An Anthology, Janice Radway, Kevin Gaines, Barry Shank, and Penny Von Eschen editors, Blackwell Press, January 2009.
Select Recent Essays
“The End of the Age of Three Worlds and the Making of the Trump Presidency,” in Liam Kennedy ed., Trump’s America, (University of Edinburgh Press, Fall 2020).
“From London 1948 to Dakar 1966: Crises in Anticolonial Counterpublics,” In Gyan Prakash and Jeremy Adelman eds., Inventing the World: Genealogies of Alternative Global Histories, (Bloomberg Press, 2022).
“Imperial Visions of the World: from confident to embattled empire,” in Mark Bradley, David Engerman, and Melani McAlister eds., The Cambridge History of America in the World, 2021.
“Roads Not Taken: The Delhi Declaration, Nelson Mandela, Václav Havel and the Lost Futures of 1989,” in Revisiting Ideology and Foreign Policy, Chris Nichols et al, eds., (Columbia U Press 2021).
“Soul Call: The First Word Festival of Negro Arts at a Pivot of Black Modernities,” in Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Number 42-43 November/2018, 124-135.
“Black Ops Diplomacy: The Foreign Policy of Popular Culture,” Scott Laderman and Tim Grunenwald eds., Imperial Benevolence, (University of California Press, 2018).
“Di Eagle and di Bear: Who Gets to Tell the Story of the Cold War?”
Ronald Radano and Teju Olaniyan eds, Audible Empire: Music, Global Politics, Critique, (Duke University Press, 2016), 189-208.
“Memory and the study of US Foreign Relations,” in Frank Costiogliola and Michael Hogan eds., Explaining US Foreign Relations, (Cambridge University Press, 2016) 304-316.
“Colloquy: Queering America and the World,” Laura Belmonte, Mark Bradley, Julio Capó Jr., Paul Farber, Shanon Fitzpatrick, Melani McAlister, David Minto, Michael Sherry, Naoka Shibusawa, Penny Von Eschen, Diplomatic History (2016) 40 (1) 19-80.
Co-curator for “Jam Sessions: American’s Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World,” photography exhibition on the jazz ambassador tours, with Meridian International Center, Washington D.C.: The exhibit opened on April 3, 2008 at the Meridian International Center, and has traveled within the U.S. Internationally, it was presented by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the State Department has was exhibited in 38 host venues in 27 countries in the Western Hemisphere, Africa, Central Asia, East Asia, Europe, and Eurasia. See link for full schedule
America Studies Theory and Methods
Race, Gender and Empire
History and Biography in the African Diaspora
Global Cold War Culture