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Dr Jonathan Hunt 

Visiting Fellow

Dr Jonathan Hunt's photo

Dr Jonathan Hunt is a Lecturer in Modern Global History at the University of Southampton.

I study the history of U.S. foreign policy and international relations since 1945. I am from Austin, Texas, and earned my BA and PhD at the University of Texas at Austin. Before coming to Southampton, I was a fellow at Stanford University and RAND Corporation (a think tank in Washington, D.C.), and a visiting lecturer at Emory University. During my research leave (September 2018 – January 2019), I am a visiting scholar at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University and an associate visiting research fellow at the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford.

H-Commons profile

Research interests

My research interests comprehend the history of nuclear weapons and power; the global Cold War; decolonization; U.S. foreign policy; U.S. political, social, and cultural history; and the history of capitalism.

My first book, Atomic Reaction: The Spread of Nuclear Weapons and America’s New Global Mission, 1945-1970, rewrites the history of nuclear power from the Manhattan Project to the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a story of superpower condominium and postcolonial politics. As nuclear science, technology, and knowledge spread across the globe, the United States and the Soviet Union worked to shut the nuclear club’s door to new members. Latin American, African, Asian, and Middle Eastern countries played central roles in this undertaking, illustrating the strength of globalization and regulation (versus the U.S.-Soviet arms race) in nuclear affairs since 1949, the promise and limits of postcolonial ideas of sovereign equality and economic development, and the importance of the global nuclear nonproliferation regime with its implicit authorization of pre-emptive war to international security since the Vietnam War.

I have also written about the origins of nuclear abolition in humanitarian efforts to illegalize the use or possession of atomic weapons in the run-up to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and nuclear arms control and superpower summitry between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. I am co-editing a volume on international history in the Reagan years for Cornell University Press, The Reagan Moment: The Cold War and Beyond, with Simon Miles of Duke University. And I have also published various op-eds, analytic pieces, and historical writing for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, The National Interest, The Huffington Post, Foreign Policy, and The Atlantic (online).

My second project is an international history of the ‘long 1980s’ from the Iranian Revolution to Soviet Union’s collapse, ‘Creative Destruction: The American Market State and the New World Order, 1979-1991’. Together, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush administrations all backed the global expansion of financial capitalism that would conquer Eurasia by the early 1990s. By interweaving the history of international relations with those of transnational capital and regional economics (the military industry in America’s Sunbelt, financial services in New York, London, and Hong Kong; and electronics in Taipei and Seoul) – I hope to fashion a new interpretation of U.S. foreign policy and global history, as permeable, winner-take-all market states supplanted fiscal-military states, bringing the Cold War to a peaceful end and setting in motion the progressive neoliberal crisis of our day.

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Book Chapters


I welcome inquiries from graduate students interested in studying the social, economic, diplomatic, political, and geopolitical history of the twentieth-century world with a focus on U.S. foreign relations, international relations, and transnational society, particular on subjects related to nuclear power, environmental history, political culture, and political economy.

I currently teach, or help teach, the following undergraduate and MA modules:

HIST1171 Reagan’s America: Capitalism and Cold War

HIST2110 The Global Cold War

HIST3218 Nuclear War and Peace, Part I (taught by Alex Ferguson in 2018/19)

HIST3219 Nuclear War and Peace, Part II (taught by Alex Ferguson in 2018/19)

HIST6123 New Approaches to American History

Dr Jonathan Hunt
Building 65 Faculty of Arts and Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom

Room Number: 65/2063

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