Jessica Chapman

Photo of Jessica Chapman

Chair and Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Professor of History

Hollander Hall Rm 332

On Leave Spring 2024


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



The Age of McCarthy: American Life in the Shadow of the Cold War (not offered 2024/25)


Cold War Films
(not offered 2024/25)

HIST 389 / ASIA 389 / LEAD 389 SEM

The Vietnam Wars (not offered 2024/25)

HIST 464 / LEAD 364 SEM

The United States and the Vietnam War (not offered 2024/25)


Race and American Foreign Relations (not offered 2024/25)


Sport and Diplomacy (not offered 2024/25)


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: Remaking the World: Decolonization and the Cold War (University Press of Kentucky, 2023) and Cauldron of Resistance: Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam (Cornell University Press, 2013). 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. She currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of American History and the Journal of American-East Asian Relations and the advisory board for the University Press of Kentucky series, Studies in Conflict, Diplomacy, and Peace.

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, 2023)

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

Articles and Chapters

“Running to School: U.S.-Kenyan Athletic Pipelines in the 1970s,” Diplomatic History (forthcoming in January 2024)

“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

Hazel Richards ’23
In the Eye of the Cyclone: Martinique’s 1946 Vote for Departmentalization and the Choice Between the United States and France

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