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Sarah Snyder Awarded National Endowment of the Humanities Fellowship

SIS Professor Sarah Snyder has been awarded a National Endowment of the Humanities fellowship for next year to support the writing of her current book project: Unofficial Diplomats: How American Expatriates Have Shaped U.S. Foreign Relations.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. The acceptance rate for fellowship applications was 8%.

Snyder's book project, Unofficial Diplomats, is a history of Americans abroad and how they have influenced U.S. foreign policy. The book analyzes the impact of expatriates from early American missionaries through the kidnapping of American academics in Lebanon in the 1980s. Mapping expatriate outposts and influence reveals an American network of schools, churches, clubs, and even cemeteries constructed by missionaries, teachers, businesspeople, and journalists.

Over time the role of these Americans evolved – from early American pioneers, to those who forged colonies overseas, to individuals who persisted as representatives of the United States in increasingly hostile communities. They served as unofficial diplomats, representing the United States when formal relations did not exist or functioning as informal ambassadors to foreign communities alongside official U.S. representatives. Unofficial Diplomats uncovers how private American citizens shaped the place of the United States in the world.