"Foundations of the American Century: The Ford, Carnegie, and Rockefeller Foundations in the Rise of American Power"
by Inderjeet Parmar
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
IUPUI University Library
755 W. Michigan Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202
This lecture examines the complex interrelations, shared mindsets, and collaborative efforts of influential public and private organizations in the building of American hegemony over the past century. Focusing on the involvement of the Ford, Rockefeller, and Carnegie foundations in U.S. foreign affairs, I trace the transformation of America from an "isolationist" nation into the world's only superpower, all in the name of benevolent stewardship. Based on archival research over a period of 15 years, I try to show how a combination of American academics, think tanks and policy makers institutionalized elitism, which then bled into the machinery of U.S. foreign policy and became regarded as the essence of modernity. America, planning to replace Britain in the role of global hegemon, created the necessary political, ideological, military, and institutional capacity to do so. Far from being scientifically objective and politically-neutral, the Ford, Rockefeller, and Carnegie foundations played fundamental roles in transforming America's role in world affairs, advancing U.S. interests at the expense of other nations. The lectur incorporates a number of case studies of American philanthropy, including in Nigeria, Chile, and Indonesia.
Inderjeet Parmar is professor of international politics at City University London, Chair of the AHRC Obama Research Network, and Past President of the British International Studies Association. Between 1991-2012, he was at the University of Manchester. He is the author of several books and articles, including Think Tanks and Power in Foreign Policy: A Comparative Study of the Role and Influence of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1939–1945; and his latest, Foundations of the American Century (Columbia UP, 2012). He is currently a Visiting Research Scholar at Princeton University, writing a monograph, Race and Empire in Anglo-American Wars from Korea to the War on Terror.