Jeffrey Engel named SMU’s Director of Presidential History Projects

Jeffrey A. Engel, new director of Presidential History Projects at SMUJeffrey A. Engel, an award-winning American history scholar, has been selected as SMU’s new director of Presidential History Projects and associate professor of presidential studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Engel will join SMU on July 1, 2012, from Texas A&M University, where he serves as an associate professor of history and public policy and as the Verlin and Howard Kruse ’52 Founders Professor. Engel also has served as director of programming for the Scowcroft Institute for International Affairs at Texas A&M.

Engel’s wife, Katherine C. Engel, also will join the Dedman College faculty as an associate professor of religious studies. She currently serves as an associate professor of history at Texas A&M and as an affiliate fellow of the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University.

In addition to his role as a tenured faculty member of SMU’s William P. Clements Department of History, Jeffrey Engel will be the founding director of the SMU Presidential History Project. The director will oversee a team of scholars who will interview individuals involved in formulating and implementing U.S. presidential policies.

“With the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in the near future, it is fitting that SMU have an academic center devoted to the study of the presidency,” said SMU Provost Paul Ludden. “With his broad range of experience and outstanding academic credentials, Dr. Jeffrey Engel is the perfect choice to lead this new effort. Engel is recognized for his insightful writings on the presidency. Most recently, he received the Bernath Lecture Prize as the outstanding young historian writing on foreign affairs.

“At the same time, we are pleased to welcome Katherine Engel, one of the rising young scholars of American religious history working in the field today. Her transnational approach to the study of religion, deploying numerous languages and work on several continents, sets the standard for interdisciplinary scholarship.”

Jeffrey Engel received a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001, and a Master of Arts in American history from Wisconsin-Madison in 1996. He graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts in history and attended St. Catherine’s College at Oxford University in 1994.  He was also a John M. Olin Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University’s program in International Security Studies.

“I am honored indeed to join SMU’s prestigious faculty, filled with scholars engaged in studying the United States and beyond,” Jeffrey Engel said. “The American presidency has in many ways become a global office in the 20th century and beyond. I look forward to working with my SMU colleagues to explore the innumerable ways presidents have shaped our country, and our world.”

Jeffrey Engel is the editor of Into the Desert: Reflections on the Gulf War (Oxford University Press, 2012); The Fall of the Berlin Wall: The Revolutionary Legacy of 1989 (Oxford University Press, 2009); The China Diary of George H.W. Bush: The Making of a Global President (Princeton University Press, 2008); and Local Consequences of the Global Cold War (Stanford University Press and Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2008).

He is the author of Cold War at 30,000 Feet: The Anglo-American Fight for Aviation Supremacy (Harvard University Press, 2007), which received the American Historical Association’s 2008 Paul Birdsall Prize, awarded biannually to honor important work in European military and strategic history. In addition, he is the author or co-author of 40 academic and professional articles and book reviews and has presented more than 40 scholarly presentations and lectures on American foreign relations, international relations and military history to more than 25 universities and professional associations. Currently, he is writing When the World Seemed New: American Foreign Policy in the Age of George H.W. Bush, to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Katherine C. Engel, associate professor of religious studies at SMUKatherine Engel has served as an assistant professor of history at Rutgers University and holds a prestigious Charles A. Ryskamp Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. Her recent research has focused on international Protestantism during the American Revolution.

She is the author of the prize-winning Religion and Profit: Moravians in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009) and numerous articles and book chapters.

She holds both a Ph.D. (2003) and a Master of Arts (1996) in American history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received a Bachelor of Arts in history from Haverford College in 1994.

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