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Julia  Irwin

Julia Irwin

Julia Irwin
Associate Professor, Associate Chair


Office: SOC 264
Phone: 813/974-2807



Ph.D., Yale University, 2009


My classes focus on the history of the United States and its relations with the wider world. I offer several lecture courses on this topic, including “U.S. Foreign Relations” and “Globalization and U.S. Culture.” I also teach a course on the History of American Food and Drink. I also teach seminars on such topics as “The U.S. in an Age of Empire,” "The U.S. and the Modern World," and “Science, Medicine, and Empire.”

In the classroom, I encourage students to think about how both state and non-state actors have played a part in U.S. foreign affairs throughout history, and to see how American social, cultural, economic, and political ideas and institutions have spread throughout the world. At the same time, I urge students to think about the ways that that people and events from outside the United States have shaped American domestic history. I also teach about important trends in international history, including the global history of medicine, health, and disease, and the role of disasters, development, and humanitarianism in shaping the modern world.

In addition to these subjects, I regularly teach the undergraduate course “The Theory of History.” In this class, we discuss the meaning of history and the methods and practices that professional historians use in our work.

I am also a mentor to several students through the Office of Undergraduate Research.


My research focuses on the place of humanitarianism, health, and welfare in 20th century U.S. foreign relations. My first book, Making the World Safe: The American Red Cross and a Nation’s Humanitarian Awakening, was published in 2013 by Oxford University Press. The book is a history of U.S. relief and assistance for foreign civilians in the era of the First World War, and focuses on both the diplomatic and the cultural significance of humanitarian aid in these years.

You can read more about my book here (please click).

Currently, I am researching and writing my second monograph, Catastrophic Diplomacy: A History of U.S. Responses to Global Natural Disaster. In this book, I will analyze how the United States government, American charities and relief organizations, and the U.S. public have responded to disasters caused by overseas tropical storms, earthquakes, floods, and other so-called "Acts of God" since the late nineteenth century. In addition to narrating the history of these responses, it will examine how the U.S. foreign disaster relief infrastructure has changed over time and the reasons why these changes occurred.

In addition to my books, I have published several articles that examine the history of American humanitarianism, health, and social welfare as a window into both U.S. domestic and international histories. Citations for these pieces are listed below.

Finally, concurrent with centennial anniversary of the First World War, I have published several articles about humanitarian responses to that conflict.

Specialty Area

U.S. relations with the rest of the world, 1890-present; international humanitarianism; the international Progressive Era and the First World War; cultural diplomacy and non-state internationalism; the history of disasters; the history of medicine and public health in global perspective.