Sam Collings-Wells

PhD candidate in American History
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I am a PhD Candidate researching the role of the Ford Foundation and the World Bank in transforming liberalism during 1970s, under the supervision of Andrew Preston.


Both my Bachelors (2018, Double Starred First) and MPhil (2019, Distinction) were undertaken at the University of Cambridge. My undergraduate dissertation focused on the influence of Hollywood Westerns on the foreign policy rhetoric of John F. Kennedy, and won the Sarah Norton prize for best essay in American political history. 

I am currently researching a project tentatively titled ‘The Ford Foundation and the Transformation of the Urban Crisis, 1970-1990’ under the supervision of Prof. Andrew Preston. It examines the role of liberal philanthropy in policing, criminal justice, and antipoverty reform in cities across the United States. My previous work has also touched upon the transnational circulation of policing experts.

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Key publications

"'Can You Imagine Such a Marshal?': Hollywood Westerns and John F. Kennedy's Cold War," International History Review (forthcoming).

"From Black Power to Broken Windows: Liberal Philanthropy and the Carceral State," Journal of Urban History (September, 2020).

"Developing Communities: The Ford Foundation and the Global Urban Crisis," Journal of Global History (July, 2020).