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Kelly Shannon, Ph.D. - Florida Atlantic University. Boca Raton, FL, US

Kelly Shannon, Ph.D. Kelly Shannon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor | Florida Atlantic University


Kelly Shannon, Ph.D. specializes in the history of U.S. foreign relations, with particular attention to the 20th century.




Kelly Shannon, Ph.D. Publication



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Kelly J. Shannon, Ph.D. specializes in the 20th century history of U.S. foreign relations, with a particular focus on the Islamic world, Iran, women’s human rights and international history. She is currently an associate professor of history at Florida Atlantic University and the Chastain-Johnston Middle Eastern Studies Distinguished Professor in Peace Studies. Her first book, "U.S. Foreign Policy and Muslim Women’s Human Rights" (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018) explored the integration of American concerns for women’s human rights into U.S. policy toward the Islamic world since the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Her other publications include book chapters and journal articles on former U.S. President Harry Truman and the Middle East, the international movement to end female genital mutilation, U.S. encounters with Saudi gender relations during the first Gulf War, U.S. relations with Iran, and state of the field essays. She is currently working on a book-length study of U.S. relations with Iran during the first half of the 20th century, tentatively titled, "The Ties That Bind: U.S.-Iran Relations, 1905-1953."

Shannon is the winner of the 2019 Stuart L. Bernath Lecture Prize awarded by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. She delivered her Bernath lecture, “Approaching the Islamic World,” at the SHAFR luncheon at the American Historical Association annual conference in New York City in January 2020, and her lecture will be published in diplomatic history in June 2020.

Shannon is affiliated with FAU’s Peace, Justice, and Human Rights Initiative and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program, and she was a PJHR Inaugural Faculty Fellow from 2014-16. She is the recipient of many grants and honors, including a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, the Samuel Flagg Bemis Research Grant from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), the SHAFR Summer Institute, and the Marvin Wachman Fellowship in Force and Diplomacy from the Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy at Temple University. She is an active member of SHAFR, as well as several other scholarly organizations, and currently serves on the SHAFR Executive Council.

She earned her Ph.D. in history from Temple University, M.A. in history from the University of Connecticut, and B.A. in history from Vassar College.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Modern Iran

Human Rights

U.S. Foreign Relations

20th Century U.S.

Modern Islamic World

Selected Media Appearances (2)

How the US and Iran developed a fraught relationship

KCRW  online


Guest: Kelly Shannon, history professor at Florida Atlantic University, author of "U.S. Foreign Policy and Muslim Women's Human Rights”

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War with Iran is not inevitable - but the U.S. must change course

Washington Post  online


U.S.-Iran relations have been increasingly tense since Donald Trump took office, but Trump's decision to kill Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani has led the U.S. and Iranian governments to inch closer to war than ever before - Iran reportedly retaliated by striking multiple U.S. bases in Iraq early on Wednesday.

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Selected Articles (3)

Iran-US Relations

American History

2019 Historian James A. Bill famously described America’s relationship with Iran as a tragedy. “Few international relationships,” he wrote, “have had a more positive beginning than that which characterized Iranian-American contacts for more than a century.”

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‘I'm glad I'm not a Saudi woman’: the First Gulf War and US encounters with Saudi gender relations

Cambridge Review of International Affairs

2014 On 6 November 1990, nearly 50 Saudi women staged a protest against the ban on women operating motor vehicles in Saudi Arabia. Occurring in the midst of the First Gulf War, the women's protest was a political statement about the harsh restrictions placed on women in the Middle Eastern country which both reflected and influenced Saudi society’s encounter with their American allies during the war.

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Truman and the Middle East

Wiley Online Library

2012 Writing in the 1960s, scholars David McLellan and John Reuss (1967) claimed,“If foreign and military policies during the Truman Administration had to be summarized in a word, that word would be seminal”(p. 15).

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