Jessica Chapman

Jessica Chapman

Professor of History

Hollander Hall Rm 332

Spring 2023 Class Hours

Mon/Thu – 1:10 pm to 2:25 pm

Wed – 1:10 pm to 3:50 pm

Spring Office Hours



B.A. Valparaiso University (1999)
M.A. University of California, Santa Barbara, History (2001)
Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara, History (2006)

Current Committees

  • Winter Study Committee


Jessica Chapman’s specialization is the United States and the World, with research emphases on Vietnam, Africa, decolonization, and the Cold War. Her teaching interests include U.S. foreign relations, the Vietnam Wars, the Cold War and decolonization, sport and diplomacy, and the relationship between foreign policy and domestic affairs. She is the author of two books: Cauldron of Resistance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam (Cornell University Press, 2013) and Remaking the World: Decolonization and the Cold War (University Press of Kentucky, July 2023). She has also published articles and chapters in Diplomatic History, the Journal of Vietnamese Studies, and a number of edited volumes. Her research has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Institute for Citizens & Scholars, the U.S. Fulbright Program, the Pacific Rim Research Program, the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

Her current research examines the history of Kenyan running. This project unpacks the layered significance of Kenya’s running industry at the local, national, and international levels to shed light on the new international system that began to take shape in the late-1960s. It illuminates new modes of economic, cultural, and political exchange between decolonized peoples and the industrialized West and explores the effects of those exchanges on postcolonial participants and societies, particularly in Kenya’s running hotbeds of Eldoret and Iten.

Selected Publications

Remaking the World: Decolonization and the Cold War (University Press of Kentucky, July 2023)

Cauldron of Resistance: Ngo Dinh Diem, The United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam (Cornell University Press, 2013)

Articles and Chapters
“The United States, the Vietnam War, and Its Consequences” in The SHAFR Guide: An Annotated Bibliography of U.S. Foreign Relations Since 1600 (Brill, 2021)

“‘We Have Seen the Enemy and He is Us’: Hollywood, the Cold War, and Battling the Enemy Within” in Material Culture, Silver Screen: War Movies and the Construction of American Identity, Matthew C. Hulbert and Matthew E. Stanley, eds. (LSU Press, 2020)

“Origins of the Vietnam War” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History (2016)

“Vietnam and the Global Cold War” in The Routledge International Handbook of the Cold War, Artemy Kalinovski and Craig Daigle, eds. (2014)

“Religion, Power, and Legitimacy in Ngô Đình Diệm’s Republic of Vietnam,” in Race, Ethnicity, Religion and the Cold War: A Global Perspective, Philip E. Muehlenbeck, ed. (Vanderbilt University Press, 2012)

“The Vietnam War” in The Guide to U.S. Foreign Policy: A Diplomatic History, Robert McMahon and Thomas Zeiler, eds. (CQ Press, 2012)

“The Sect Crisis of 1955 and the American Commitment to Ngô Đình Diệm,” Journal of Vietnamese Studies 5:1:37-85 (February 2010)

“Staging Democracy: South Vietnam’s 1955 Referendum to Depose Bao Dai,” Diplomatic History 30:4: 671-703 (September 2006)

“Teaching the Vietnam War from the Vietnamese Perspective,” The Organization of American Historians’ Magazine of History, 18:5 (October, 2004)

Theses Advised

Alexandra Gudaitis ’19“An Act of Honor”: Revisiting the GI and Vietnam Veterans Against the War Movements

Reed Jenkins ’19An American Surgeon, The Spanish Civil War, and the Faultlines of American Politics
(with Soledad Fox)

Tyler Holden ’13 – One Country, Watching Television: How Kennedy Became the First Television President

Madeleine Jacobs ’11The 1956 Presidential Election and the Battle for Public Opinion During the 1956 Duez Cana Crisis

Zach Miller ’10‘Take Communism Away from the Communists’: The Early Intellectual Crucible of Walt Whitman Rostow and the States of Economic Growth

Charlie Dougherty ’09The Elusive Peace: Washington, Saigon, and the Search for Peace in Vietnam, 1966-1969