Emily Swafford


University of Chicago


Christine Stansell and Jane Dailey

Academic Interests:

20th-century U.S. political history
America and the world
U.S. military history
Women and gender
Cold War


Democracy’s Proving Ground: U.S. Military Families in West Germany Between World War II and Vietnam

Bio Note:

Emily Swafford is a PhD candidate in twentieth-century U.S. history at the University of Chicago.  Her work unravels how and why the U.S. military accepted, somewhat uneasily, an obligation to provide for and support the family life of its servicemen both at home and abroad during the Cold War.  Her research uses the invention of the military family during the early Cold War to understand the complexity of gendered political rhetoric about family, about the military, and about increased U.S. concern with the world beyond its borders. Using U.S. bases in West Germany as her main body of evidence, her work shows the transnational processes inherent in the redefinition of Cold War American democracy, from the re-examination of the relationship between citizens and the state at home, to the re-evaluation of the relationship between the U.S. and the world. Other interests include the history of marriage and family benefits in the military and the relationship between scouting and the U.S. military.

She is the recipient of a General and Mrs. Matthew B. Ridgway Research Grant from the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, a Doctoral Fellowship from the German Historical Institute, and an ABC-Clio Research Grant from the Society for Military History.  Her work has been presented at the annual meetings of the American Historical Association, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the Society for Military History.

Added January 2013