Dr Michael Foley
Ph.D. (New Hampshire)
Senior Lecturer in the History of America and the Wider World
History of the United States since 1945, Vietnam War, Social movements
Office Hours: Spring 2012-13 - On Research Leave
+44 (0)114 22 22558
Jessop West 1.07
Mike Foley joined the History Department in 2009. He earned his M.A. (1994) and Ph.D. (1999) at the University of New Hampshire. Before coming to Sheffield, he was Associate Professor of History at the City University of New York's College of Staten Island and the CUNY Graduate Center. Mike's research has long been focused on the way Americans experience political life, the conditions in which they become politically engaged, and contested notions of citizenship in postwar American civil society. His first book, Confronting the War Machine: Draft Resistance during the Vietnam War (2003) recovered the history of the draft resistance movement in Boston, the first major community study of the antiwar movement, and for which he won the Peace History Society's Scott Bills Memorial Prize. A second book, Dear Dr. Spock, grew out of the first, and presented the first clear view beyond public opinion polls of often conflicted American attitudes about the Vietnam War. More recent projects have included Home Fronts, a co-edited documentary history of war and American society from the Spanish War to the present, and a co-edited volume on Witness Against Torture's campaign to shut down Guantanamo and stop torture.
In 2010-2011, Mike was awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellowship to support the completion of his book on grassroots politics in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s.
Mike is a founding editor of The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics, and Culture. He is a past Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Peace History Society (2000-2005), and currently serves on the PHS executive board. At Sheffield, he is, along with Holger Nehring and Benjamin Ziemann, a founding co-director of the Centre for Peace History.
Mike Foley has just completed a monograph on grassroots politics in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, to be published by Hill & Wang/FSG in 2012. He also has a developing interest in the intersection of art and politics in American life and is currently preparing two essays – one on country music and the Vietnam War, and the other on jazz and Black Power. Mike is also in the early stages of work on two social movement projects - one on the politics of homelessness in the 1980s and another that will explore the transnational movement to close Guantanamo and end torture and indefinite detention.
Mike Foley is a social and political historian with particular interest in the United States in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. His research is interdisciplinary, calling as much on social science research methodology (such as oral history and questionnaires) and cultural studies theory and practices (in examining art and politics) as traditional archival research. Although he remains interested primarily in the mobilization of ordinary Americans in social movements, this can be seen as part of a broader interest in how Americans experience political life. The current projects on grassroots politics in the 1970s and 1980s and the campaign to shut down Guantanamo are, in particular, designed to explore a range of approaches to citizen action, while the work on country music and jazz examines art as a vehicle for political consciousness and experience.
Knowledge Exchange and Public Engagement
Dating to his time in New York, Mike has maintained a commitment to public engagement. There he served as historical consultant on the award-winning film, The Camden 28 (Anthony Giacchino, director, 2007), advised on another film, The Minutemen (Corey Wacsinski, director, 2010), and appeared as featured interviewee in The Kennedy Assassination: 24 Hours After (History Channel, 2009) and other History Channel programs. He also appeared on post-show panels for several of the Epic Theatre Ensemble's off-Broadway productions.
In Sheffield, he has, as a director of the Centre for Peace History, brokered a partnership with the Showroom Workstation that has led to screenings of peace and social justice-themed films and public forums. Along with Gary Rivett of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Culture, Mike organized the Stories of Activism workshop in which Sheffield activists, across many issues and generations, came together at the Showroom Workstation and shared stories of their organizing campaigns. He remains part of the Stories of Activism steering committee now committed to documenting Sheffield’s activist past through the collection of both oral history interviews and archival materials.
Mike Foley welcomes postgraduate students working on any project related to the social, political, and cultural history of postwar America, and particularly those interested in American peace history, social movements, and the intersection of art and politics during both wartime and peacetime.
Mike Foley has played a number of key administrative roles in the department. In addition to serving as co-director of the Centre for Peace History, Mike has also served on the Postgraduate Committee and is a member of the department’s Research Committee. He is the first person to be elected as at-large representative on the Department Executive Board. Mike also supervises the Department’s library resources and serves as Study Abroad Tutor.
Books / Special Issues
- Life during Wartime: America in the 1970s and 1980s (New York: Hill & Wang/FSG, forthcoming in 2012)
- Home Fronts: A Wartime America Reader (ed., with Brendan P. O´Malley) (New York: The New Press, 2008)
- Witness Against Torture: The Campaign to Shut Down Guantanamo (ed., with Anna J. Brown, Matthew W. Daloisio, Patrick Stanley, Matthew Vogel) (New York: Yellow Bike Press, 2008)
- Dear Dr. Spock: Letters about the Vietnam War to America's Favorite Baby Doctor (ed.) (New York: New York University Press, 2005)
- Confronting the War Machine: Draft Resistance during the Vietnam War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003)
- Editor, with Wendy Chmielewski, "The Politics of Peace Movements: from Nonviolence to Social Justice," special theme issue of Peace & Change 26:3 (July 2001)
- "Performative Protest and Media Reception: The Case of Draft Resistance during the Vietnam War," in Fancisco Munoz and Juan Manuel Jimenez Arenas, eds., La Paz: El Motor de la Historia [Peace: The Driving Force of History] (Granada: Eirene, forthcoming 2012)
- "A Lesson of Commitment and Sacrifice: Draft Resistance in Boston and Puerto Rico during the Vietnam War," in Benjamin Ziemann, ed., Peace Movements in Western Europe, Japan and the USA during the Cold War. Essen, Germany: Klartext Verlag, 2007, pp. 61-76.
- "The 'Point of Ultimate Indignity' or a 'Beloved Community?': The Draft Resistance Movement and New Left Gender Dynamics," in John McMillian and Paul Buhle, eds., The New Left Revisited (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2003); 178-198.
- "Confronting the Johnson Administration at War: The Trial of Dr. Spock and Use of the Courts to Effect Political Change," Peace & Change, 28: 3 (January 2003), 67-107.
- "Sanctuary!: A Bridge Between Civilian and GI Protest against the Vietnam War," in Robert Buzzanco and Marilyn Young, eds., A Companion to the Vietnam War, (Boston: Blackwell, 2002), 426-433.
- "A Mission Unfulfilled: The Post Office and the Distribution of Information in Rural New England, 1821-1835," Journal of the Early Republic, 17: 4 (Winter 1997), 611-650.