Miller Center

Stephen Porter

History, University of Chicago

Defining Public Responsibility in a Global Age: Refugee Resettlement in the U.S., 1933 to 1980

Porter photo

Stephen Porter is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati.

Steve Porter explores the intersection of humanitarianism and extensions of U.S. power over the long twentieth century. He has considered these issues in his book, Benevolent Empire? U.S. Power, Humanitarianism, and the World’s Dispossessed(University of Pennsylvania Press, Oct. 2016), as well as through shorter publications and professional presentations. Central to his research interests are changing conceptions of ethical responsibilities and rights as well as the ways in which a panoply of state and non-state actors have collaborated – productively and otherwise – in innovative strategies to managing refugee crises and other humanitarian dilemmas wrought by war, persecution, upheaval, and other disruptive phenomena so emblematic of the modern world order. These efforts include both international aid initiatives on behalf of vulnerable populations abroad and domestic programs to systematically resettle select groups of political refugees admitted to the U.S.
 
His current research agenda includes pursuing these themes through the past several decades. He is additionally examining how Cold-War era U.S.-Americans, operating outside of government, engaged with counterparts in communist countries in efforts at nongovernmental diplomacy when their respective states largely maintained adversarial postures toward one another.
 
At the University of Cincinnati, he has served as director of the International Human Rights Certificate, chair of the Tolley Scholarship in International Human Rights, and chair of the Taft Center’s Human Rights Research Group. He is a former fellow of the Institute for Historical Studies. He has a PhD in History from the University of Chicago.

Fellowship year: 2006

Mentor: Akira Iriye, Harvard University

Selected Recent Publications

Benevolent Empire: U.S. Power, Humanitarianism, and the World's Dispossessed. (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016).

Humanitarian Diplomacy after World War II: The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.” in Foreign Policy Breakthroughs: Cases in Successful Diplomacy. (Oxford University Press, 2015).

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