Jenifer Van Vleck

Jenifer Van Vleck's picture
Assistant Professor of History & American Studies
HGS 209
Field(s) of interest: 
United States and the World, 20th century U.S. history, cultural history, history of technology, business history

Jenifer Van Vleck is a historian of 20th-century U.S. and international history. She received her Ph.D. from Yale in 2009. Her research and teaching focus on U.S. foreign relations, with particular emphasis on the ways in which culture, technology, and private enterprise have shaped the United States’ role in the world. She is also interested in transnational approaches to the study of empire and imperialism, modernization, and globalization.  

Van Vleck’s first book, Empire of the Air: Aviation and the American Ascendancy, was published by Harvard University Press in 2013. It examines how aviation facilitated the United States’ rise as a global power—and transformed American visions of the world—from the Wright brothers through the jet age. Empire of the Air received the Gaddis Smith International Book Prize from Yale’s MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, and it was the runner-up for the Stuart Bernath Prize and the Myra Bernath Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

Van Vleck’s other publications include “The Logic of the Air: Aviation and the Globalism of the ‘American Century,’” New Global Studies 1.1 (Fall 2007) and “An Airline at the Crossroads of the World: Ariana Afghan Airlines, Modernization, and the Global Cold War,” History and Technology 25:1 (March 2009). She is currently working on a new book project, tentatively entitled Ambassadors with Bulldozers: The Engineering of American Global Power in the Twentieth Century, on the role of private contractors in U.S.-sponsored modernization and development projects, both within the United States and abroad.

In addition to her teaching and research, Van Vleck co-organizes the International History Workshop and is affiliated with International Security Studies.  

Courses Taught

HIST 122/AMST 193, Origins of U.S. Global Power
HIST 181J, World War II and Its Legacies
HIST 410J/HSHM 458, Technology and Power
HIST 411J, The Global 1960s
HIST 753, Readings in Transnational History (graduate seminar)
HIST 754, Research in Transnational History (graduate seminar)


Yale University, Ph.D., History (2009)        
Yale University, M.A. and M.Phil, History (2005)
Brown University, B.A., History, magna cum laude (1997)