Roosevelt Institute for American Studies

Middelburg, The Netherlands

30 November – 1 December 2017

Theodore, Eleanor, and Franklin Roosevelt are three of the most inspiring and dynamic political leaders in 20th century US history. Theodore and Franklin both redefined the presidency and political leadership, each in their unique way. Eleanor, the first modern First Lady, as a widow became a prominent media personality and advocate of political causes such as human rights and the anti-nuclear movement. Each of the three Roosevelts had a specific impact, influence, and legacy, shaping the foreign and domestic policy of the United States, and the relations between the US and the world, through the twentieth century and beyond.

The Rooseveltian Century is a new concept for contemporary history. The nearest equivalent is the idea of the Wilsonian Century, based on the worldview of President Woodrow Wilson and how he conceived of US power being used to shape world politics through WWI (‘making the world safe for democracy’). In contrast, the Rooseveltian Century examines the three Roosevelts as a ‘collective agent’ who, through both domestic and foreign policies, changed our understanding of the responsibilities of government and the global role of the United States. This mean that the Rooseveltian Century, as a historical frame, makes use of the three Roosevelts to view, critically consider and explore key themes in US history and international relations, without necessarily stating that the three acted in unison or that they expressed the same views or policies.

This conference builds on the experimental MOOC, ‘The Rooseveltian Century’, produced by Giles Scott-Smith and Dario Fazzi in 2016. The event, the first to be held at the newly-founded Roosevelt Institute for American Studies, has two main purposes. Firstly, it will uniquely combine research on each of the three principal Roosevelts within an overarching historical investigation into their influence and legacies. Secondly, it will frame the debate around the central themes, motifs and images that can be represented by the term Rooseveltian Century, identifying the longer-lasting meaning and importance of this frame in current-day (international) politics.

Paper proposals on the following topics are welcome:

1) Domestic and International Public Policy – which fields were initiated, shaped, or heavily influenced by the Roosevelts;

2) ‘Rooseveltian Transfer’ – how public policy initiatives were taken up by and shared between the Roosevelts and their supporters;

3) Who Influences Who – the roots of Rooseveltian idealism and realism;

4) Public Memory – how the Roosevelts both shaped their own public legacies and have been used by advocates (and adversaries) to represent distinct identities and causes in the public realm;

5) Partisan Politics – how the Roosevelts influenced socio-political and party-based activism;

6) Style and Media – how the Roosevelts responded to and used a changing media environment for their personal and political purposes;

7) Institutions and Alliances – how did the Roosevelts transform US foreign relations and the US role in the world;

8) Principles and Values – how did the Roosevelts broaden conceptions and understanding of such ideals as democracy, freedom, and equality?

Special Guests:

Frank Costigliola (University of Connecticut)

Michael Cullinane (Northumbria University)

Mario Del Pero (SciencesPo)

Sylvia Ellis (University of Roehampton)

Petra Goedde (Temple University)

Justin Hart (Texas Tech University)

Lisa McGirr (Harvard University)

Kiran Patel (University of Maastricht)

Please send a 250-word proposal, together with a CV, to

The deadline for paper proposals is 31 March 2017.

Draft papers of 5000 words will be required no later than 1 November 2017, in time for circulation to all participants prior to the conference.

For all enquiries please contact Giles Scott-Smith by email: