Arne Westad is Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and an expert in contemporary international affairs. He is co-director of LSE IDEAS, an editor of the journal Cold War History and general editor of the forthcoming three-volume Cambridge History of the Cold War. His 2006 book The Global Cold War won the Bancroft Prize, the main history award in the United States, the Harrington Award of the American Political Science Association, and the Akira Iriye International History Award. The book has been translated into nine languages.
Born in Norway in 1960, Professor Westad studied history, philosophy and modern languages at the University of Oslo and received his PhD in history from the University of North Carolina in 1990. During the 1980s he worked for several international aid agencies in Southern Africa and South Asia. Professor Westad has taught at the University of North Carolina and at Johns Hopkins University and served for eight years as Director of Research at the Norwegian Nobel Institute. Since 1998 he has been in the Department of International History at the LSE, where he teaches Cold War history and the history of East Asia. Professor Westad served as head of department from 2004-07 and is now co-director of LSE IDEAS, the centre for the study of international affairs, diplomacy and grand strategy.
Westad's main fields of interests are the international history of the Cold War and contemporary East Asian history. At LSE, he teaches courses within these topics and supervises students for their dissertations and theses at all levels, from undergraduate to PhD. Professor Westad has published twelve books on international history and contemporary international affairs. In addition to The Global Cold War, other books from recent years include The Cold War: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts (OUP, 2003; with Jussi Hanhimaki); Decisive Encounters: The Chinese Civil War, 1945-1950 (Stanford UP, 2003), and Reviewing the Cold War: Approaches, Interpretations, Theory (Routledge, 2000). Professor Westad is the general editor (with Melvyn Leffler of the University of Virginia) of the three volume Cambridge History of the Cold War (CHCW), forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in 2009. With 75 contributors from 18 countries, the CHCW will become the major international history of the conflict and its repercussions.
Professor Westad has held visiting fellowships at Cambridge University, Hong Kong University, and New York University, and has been the recipient of major grants from the John D. and Catharine T. MacArthur Foundation and the British Arts and Humanities Research Council. He has served as the international co-ordinator of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Advisory Group on Declassification and Archival Access and has advised several other governments on such issues. He now heads the British Academy's documentary project on British-Russian relations during the Cold War. He is also widely known as a reviewer, lecturer and external examiner (including at the University of Hong Kong, which he has served since 2004). In 2000, Professor Westad was awarded the Bernath Lecture Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.
Professor Westad recently spoke on 'Mao Zedong and China's Cold Wars, 1919-1976' at the China and the World in Mao's Last Decade, 1966-1976 conference held by the University of Hong Kong the 9-10 January 2009. The world-views formed by Mao Zedong and his generation of Chinese Communists were at the heart of China's two Cold Wars - against the United States and against the Soviet Union. In his lecture, Professor Westad discussed how these ideas were formed and how they were developed through politics, wars, and diplomacy. He also set out the score-card for China's Cold Wars as they affected the country's international standing and its domestic evolution. Did the confrontations with the Cold War Superpowers form a necessary part of China's entry into world society, or did they belong to a pattern that held China back and made it poorer and more oppressive than it needed be?
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