School of History, Classics & Archaeology

The Fennell Lecture 2016 - Professor Andrew Preston

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The global frontiers of American self-defence: a history

The 2016 Fennell Lecture will examine the idea of "national security" in American history. Where did this very capacious definition of the requirements of American self-defense, which is both physical and ideological and spans the globe, come from? Have Americans always thought of national security, threat perception, and self-defense in the same way they do now? If not, then when and why did it change?

Andrew Preston, Professor of American History at the University of Cambridge, will discuss the invention of the modern doctrine of national security by exploring the transition in the American worldview from a concept of security that was defined by a defense of territorial sovereignty to something much more capacious, both spatially and ideologically.

About the speaker

Andrew Preston is Professor of American History at the University of Cambridge, where he is also a Fellow of Clare College.

He has appeared on national television and radio in the United States and Canada and written for the Globe & Mail, Maclean’s, TLS, Boston Globe,, Politico, and History Today. Before Cambridge, he taught at Yale University; he is also a past editor of The Historical Journal. Preston is the author of The War Council: McGeorge Bundy, the NSC, and Vietnam (Harvard, 2006) and co-editor of three other books: Nixon in the World: U.S. Foreign Relations, 1969-1977 (Oxford, 2008); America in the World: A History in Documents from the War with Spain to the War on Terror (Princeton, 2014); and Faithful Republic: Religion and Politics in the 20th Century United States (Penn, 2015). His book Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy (Knopf, 2012) was a finalist for the Cundill Prize, runner-up for the Longman/History Today Prize, and winner of the Charles Taylor Prize and the Richard Neustadt Prize.

Professor Preston is currently writing a history of the idea of national security in American history and editing Volume 2 of The Cambridge History of the Vietnam War.

More about Professor Andrew Preston


Mar 24 2016 -

The Fennell Lecture 2016 - Professor Andrew Preston

The 2016 Fennell Lecture will be delivered by Professor Andrew Preston, University of Cambridge, on Thursday 24 March 2016.

Lecture Theatre 2, Appleton Tower
11 Crichton Street