Ryan M. Irwin


Associate Professor                                                                        

Ph.D., Ohio State University
M.A., Ohio State University
B.A., State University of New York at Geneseo 

060N Social Science
Phone: (518) 442-5379
Fax: (518) 442-5301

Current Research Interests:

Ryan Irwin writes about U.S. and the World history. His first book, Gordian Knot: Apartheid and the Unmaking of the Liberal World Order, explored how African independence altered the international system at the height of the Cold War. His current book examines what the Free World meant to its architects during the mid-twentieth century. He's also researching a book on Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Professor Irwin is interested in global governance and decolonization, as well as the relationship between nineteenth century political theory and twentieth century international politics, and he is happy to advise students on most aspects of American foreign relations history.

Some Publications:

Gordian Knot: Apartheid and the Unmaking of the Liberal World Order (Oxford University Press, 2012)


“One World? Rethinking America’s Margins, 1935-1945,” in eds. Bevan Sewell and Maria Ryan, Foreign Policy at the Periphery: The Shifting Margins of US International Relations since World War II (University of Kentucky Press, 2017)


"Some Parts Sooner, Some Later, and Finally All," H-Diplo State of the Field Essay 142 (October 2016)

"Cold War in Africa," in ed. Matthew Masur, Understanding and Teaching the Cold War (University of Wisconsin Press, 2016)

Inside the Parliament of Man: Enuga Reddy and the Decolonization of the United Nations,” in eds. António Costa Pinto and Miguel Bandeira Jerónimo, The Ends of European Colonial Empires: Cases and Comparisons (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

Sovereignty in the Congo Crisis,” in eds. Elisabeth Leake and Leslie James, Decolonization and the Cold War: Negotiating Independence (Bloomsbury, 2015)

Decolonization and the Cold War,” in eds. Artemy Kalinovsky and Craig A. Daigle, Routledge Handbook of the Cold War (Routledge, 2014)

Mandela’s Unfinished Business: The Incomplete Legacy of South Africa’s Founding Father,” Foreign Affairs (December 2013)

“U.S. Foreign Relations and Africa,” and "U.S. Policy toward Apartheid," in eds. Timothy Lynch, David Milne, and Christopher McKnight Nichols, Oxford Encyclopedia of American Diplomatic and Military History (Oxford University Press, 2013)

Imagining Nation, State, and Order in the Mid-Twentieth Century,” Kronos: Journal of Cape History 37 (April 2012)

Apartheid on Trial: South West Africa and the International Court of Justice, 1960-1966,” International History Review 32:4 (December 2010)

Wind of Change? White Redoubt and the Postcolonial Moment, 1960-1963,” Diplomatic History 33:5 (November 2009)

Links to:

Full Curriculum Vitae


Faculty with Potential Overlap Interests:

Mitch Aso
Allen Ballard
Iris Berger
Carl Bon Tempo
Richard Fogarty
H. Peter Krosby
Kendra Smith-Howard
Barry Trachtenberg