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NIAS fellowship for Mike Schmidli

Mike Schmidli has been awarded a fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS). From September 2021, he will spend 5 months at NIAS working on his research project titled 'Human Rights, Democracy Promotion, and U.S. Interventionism in the late Cold War'. Read the abstract of his project below.

Project description

Human Rights, Democracy Promotion, and U.S. Interventionism in the late Cold War
This book project examines how and why democracy promotion emerged as the centerpiece of the U.S. human rights agenda during the 1980s, focusing on the multi-faceted conflict between the United States and Nicaragua. Grounded in archival research in the United States, Nicaragua, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands, my research indicates that the Reagan Administration used the discourse of democracy promotion to justify interventionist policies abroad. The administration energetically utilized the rhetoric of human rights to portray U.S. funded counterrevolutionary forces seeking to destabilize the leftist government of Nicaragua as anti-communist democrats, despite evidence of widespread human rights abuses. Correspondingly, the Reagan administration worked to delegitimize the social and economic human rights initiatives of the Nicaraguan revolutionary government. By the late 1980s, a distinctive form of U.S. political and economic interventionism — pursued through civil society or 'low-intensity' warfare and rooted in the neoliberal imperatives of U.S.-led globalization — had emerged as a central pillar of U.S. foreign policy, with significant implications for post-Cold War international relations.

The Netherlands Institute for Advanced is an intellectual haven for international researchers, writers, journalists and artists to pursue their research or projects, to work in an interdisciplinary environment and to share their knowledge with society.

It offers a diverse year-group of about 60 NIAS Fellows the opportunity to devote themselves to an independent research project. NIAS is the oldest Institute for Advanced Study in Europe whose founding mission is to foster curiosity- driven research. It is an institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and is located in Amsterdam.

NIAS Fellows become part of a carefully selected community of independent thinkers, in a collaborative environment where the space is created to ask new questions beyond disciplinary boundaries. NIAS Fellows are selected through a highly competitive external review process on the basis of the quality of the research proposal.

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