Ruth Lawlor

Junior Research Fellow in History, Queens' College
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Dr Ruth Lawlor
I have an MA in History from University College Cork (2016) and received my PhD from Cambridge in 2019. I was a Visiting Researcher at Boston University in 2017 and a Fox International Fellow at Yale in 2018-2019. I am currently a Junior Research Fellow in History at Queens' College.
I am a historian of the United States in the world with an interest in race, gender, nation, and empire. My first book, currently in progress, is a transnational history of rape and American soldiers in Britain, France, and Germany during World War II. It examines the deployment and reconfiguration of racialised rape mythologies overseas as the United States extended its military and legal reach abroad. Focusing on the court-martial as a key site in the contestation and politicisation of rape, I show how an American politics of patriarchal white supremacy coalesced with intersecting European politics of class, race, and empire to shape, and profit from, the racialisation of sexual violence. The book shows how and why the rates of rape and racial scapegoating varied so widely across Europe; draws on women’s testimony in interrogating the gender and race politics of rape victims themselves, pushing past one-dimensional portrayals of women as already victimised or as depoliticised; and brings the home front back in by examining both the domestic politics of four states at war, but also the ideas that transcended those boundaries: the white feminine ideal, martial masculinity, the constitution of countries as racially-bounded nations.

I am in the early stages of research for a second book project, a labour history of US empire from World War II to the Wars on Terror, which focuses on civilian contractors of war: the non-uniformed, and often non-American, personnel who work in American military bases around the world. As part of this project, I am researching the transnational politics of American military cemeteries, and exploring the nature of archival labour itself, focusing in particular on the work of historians who write about violence and suffering.
I am happy to supervise Part I students taking Paper 18: European history since 1890, and Paper 24: the history of the United States from 1865. I also teach a number of the Historical Argument and Practice papers, including race, gender, and international history, and run a class on Reading Foucault for HAP.
I am a a member of the American Historical Association (AHA), British Association for American Studies (BAAS), Historians of the Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS), Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), and the Society for Military History (SMH)
I am happy to supervise Part II students writing dissertations on most aspects of twentieth century U.S. history, especially those with an interest in the history of the United States in the world, cultural, social, and legal history, and the U.S. military. Current students are working on dissertations about the black Jewish diaspora in post-war New York, conservative politics in the mid-twentieth century, and masculinity in American popular culture. I also welcome proposals from prospective MPhil students interested in working on war, society, culture or the transnational in the long twentieth century.

Key publications

“Contested Crimes: Race, Gender, and Nation in GI Histories of Sexual Crime, World War II”, Journal of Military History [forthcoming, April 2020]

Other publications

“When Commemorating D-Day, Don’t Forget the Dark Side of American War Efforts”, Washington Post, June 6, 2019.
“How the Trump administration’s Title IX proposals threaten to undo #MeToo”, Washington Post, February 4, 2019