My research sits at the intersection of the history of international organizations, development, decolonization and state-formation. I carried out my PhD in History at New York University.
My dissertation, ‘Building States through International Development Assistance: The United Nations between Trusteeship and Self-Determination, 1945 to 1965,’ explores how the UN functioned as an historical actor, driven by international civil servants. It examines UN development efforts, both at the New York headquarters and on-site, in Bolivia and the Congo, arguing that the organization pioneered a form of state-building through development assistance in the postwar years. Scholars have largely understood postwar internationalism as an attempt to supersede the nation-state. In contrast, my dissertation shows that UN development aid in fact supported the proliferation of the nation-state form on a global scale, while simultaneously chipping away at the meaning of state sovereignty as a barrier against outside intervention.
My research has been supported by NYU, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, Harvard and Cambridge Universities’ History Project for New Economic Thinking, the National History Center of the American Historical Association, as well as Yale University, where I spent the academic year 2015-16 as a predoctoral fellow in International Security Studies.
At NYU, I designed and taught an undergraduate seminar on the history of development, which also introduced students to history as a scholarly discipline. My other teaching interests include the history of international organizations, humanitarianism, international law, humanitarian interventions, and political economy.