Personal profile


Molly Geidel (Ph.D. Boston University) joined the American studies program in September 2015, having previously taught in the United States at Cornell University, Harvard University, Boston University, and the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She researches and teaches classes on the intersection of US foreign policy and visual and popular culture, as well as the broader history of film, popular culture, gender and sexuality studies, and social movements in the United States and Latin America. 

Her first book, Peace Corps Fantasies (University of Minnesota Press, 2015) is a cultural history of the 1960s Peace Corps. The book juxtaposes oral history accounts with readings of policy documents, popular fiction, and film in order to examine how the Peace Corps’ vision of heroic development work emerged from the masculine anxieties of Cold War policymakers and influenced radical movements across the Americas.

She is currently working on two new book projects. The first project, "Everyday Counterinsurgency," traces how the United States has envisioned counterinsurgency as a gendered project since the early Cold War, from Life magazine photographs of disgruntled miners disciplined by the Alliance For Progress to recent attempts to transform educated girls into weapons in the global War on Terror. The second book, "Seeing Like a Liberal Empire," is a history of the development film, which will track the production and circulation of pedagogical films that imagined international development programs and trajectories. Her journal articles have appeared or are forthcoming in American Quarterly, Feminist Studies, Photography and Culture, Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, and Journal of Popular Music Studies. 


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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