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Frank Charles Costigliola
University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT 06269-9000)
The Contingent Cold War and the Integrated Thought of George F. Kennan

A book-length study on George F. Kennan’s (1904-2005) diplomacy and Cold War policy recommendations.    

George F. Kennan, the author of America’s Cold War containment policy, felt that his “Russian self” was more genuine than his American one. Examining the emotional dynamics of Kennan’s thinking affords new insights into 1) the personal roots of his policy recommendations and 2) the possibility that the Cold War could have ended sooner. Kennan’s longing for contact with the Russian people conditioned both his recommendations for containment and his subsequent arguments for dismantling that policy. Passion for Russia impelled and enabled Kennan to discern potential turning points in the Cold War. My approach employs concepts about emotion borrowed from psychology, philosophy, political science, and neuroscience. I do a close reading of texts looking for signs of emotion. I also venture beyond the emotional turn by investigating evidence of integrated thought, that is, the brain-wide processing of information that characterizes how the mind actually operates.

Project fields:
Diplomatic History; U.S. History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2017 – 7/31/2018