Archive for the Harriman Institute Oral History Project Officially Launches

The archive for the Harriman Institute Oral History Project, a collaboration between the Harriman Institute, the Columbia Center for Oral History Research (CCOHR) and INCITE, was formally launched on October 29th, 2018. In celebration of the archive's release, the Harriman Institute hosted a dinner and panel discussion (video above) on the Institute's past, present and future role in area studies and academia. Moderated by George Gavrilis, the panel brought together key Harriman Institute alumni, including Ronald Suny, Jeri Laber, Toby Gati and Stephen Cohen (all pictured above), to reminisce of their time at the Institute and discuss its influence on the making of U.S. foreign policy toward the post-Soviet region. 

You can learn more about the Harriman Institute Oral History Project here.

Harriman Institute Oral Histories featured in PONARS Eurasia policy memo

Alexander Cooley, the Claire Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College and Director of Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, and George Gavrilis, an independent consultant specializing in international relations, higher education, and oral history, recently published a policy memo on PONARS which uses the Harriman Institute oral histories conducted by CCOHR to explore post-cold war developments in area studies. The authors dispute the perceived decline of area studies after the collapse of the Soviet Union by tracing the paths of those involved in the Harriman Institute. Many of these individuals, among them Elizabeth Valkenier, Edward Kasinec, Jack Snyder, Alexander Motyl, and Peter Charow, among others, went on to play important roles in political science, human rights, studies of nationalism, art history and the non-governmental sector.  Reflecting on these oral histories, Cooley and Gavrilis conclude with the suggestion that we move away from the "rise and fall” model of area studies by addressing how area studies can evolve to meet the needs of our current moment. 

You can read Cooley and Gavrilis’ PONARS article here and can learn more about the Harriman Institute Oral History Project here.

CCOHR and INCITE completes Harriman project


The Columbia Center for Oral History Research (CCOHR) and INCITE have recently completed an oral history project with the Harriman Institute at Columbia University. The project investigated the impressive role played by the Harriman Institute in area studies and academia and its influence on US foreign policy in the post-Soviet region. By analyzing the history of the field of area studies, CCOHR and INCITE aimed to understand the relationship between the academy and government in the development of foreign policy.