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Sarah Snyder Associate Professor School of International Service

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(202) 885-6587 (Office)
SIS - School of International Service
SIS - 342
SIS 342
Additional Positions at AU
Affiliate Associate Professor of History
PhD, Georgetown University;

MA, SSEES, University College London;

BA, Brown University

Sarah B. Snyder is a historian of U.S. foreign relations who specializes in the history of the Cold War, human rights activism, and U.S. human rights policy. She is the author of From Selma to Moscow: How Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy (Columbia University Press, 2018), which explains how transnational connections and 1960s-era social movements inspired Americans to advocate for a new approach to human rights. Her first book, Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network, (Cambridge University Press), analyzes the development of a transnational network devoted to human rights advocacy and its contributions to the end of the Cold War. The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations awarded it the 2012 Stuart Bernath Book Prize by for best first book by an author and the 2012 Myrna F. Bernath Book Award for the best book written by a woman in the field in the previous two years. In addition to authoring several chapters in edited collections, she has also published articles in Diplomatic History, Cold War History, Human Rights Quarterly, Diplomacy & Statecraft, Journal of Transatlantic Studies, European Journal of Human Rights and Journal of American Studies. She previously served as a Lecturer at University College London, a Cassius Marcellus Clay Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History at Yale University, the Pierre Keller Post -Doctoral Fellow in Transatlantic Relations at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies also at Yale, and as a professorial lecturer at Georgetown University. Snyder received her Ph.D. from Georgetown, a M.A. from University College London, and a B.A. with honors from Brown University.
See Also
Professor Snyder's website
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications


From Selma to Moscow: How Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy (Columbia University Press, 2018).

Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network (Cambridge University Press, 2011).

The CSCE and the End of the Cold War: Diplomacy, Societies and Human Rights, 1972-1990 (co-editor with Nicolas Badalassi; Berghahn Books, forthcoming 2018).

Journal Articles

“The 1968 International Year for Human Rights: A Missed Opportunity in the United States” Diplomatic History 42: 5 (November 2018): 831–858.

“Americans’ Human Rights Activism in the Long 1960s,” European Journal of Human Rights 2 (2016) 221-33.

“Beyond Containment?: The First Bush Administration’s Sceptical Approach to the CSCE,” Cold War History 13:4 (November 2013): 463-484.

“‘A Call for U.S. Leadership’: Congressional Activism on Human Rights,” Diplomatic History 37:2 (April 2013): 372-397.

“Bringing the Transnational In: Writing Human Rights into the International History of the Cold War,” Diplomacy and Statecraft 24:1 (March 2013): 100-116.

“Exporting Amnesty International to the United States: Transatlantic Human Rights Activism in the 1960s,” Human Rights Quarterly 34:3 (August 2012): 779-799.  (Law journals, such as Human Rights Quarterly, are not peer-reviewed.)

“The Foundation for Vienna: A Reassessment of the CSCE in the mid-1980s,” Cold War History 10:4 (November 2010): 493-512.

“Through the Looking Glass: The Helsinki Final Act and the 1976 Election for President,” Diplomacy and Statecraft 21:1 (March 2010): 87-106.

“The CSCE and the Atlantic Alliance: Forging a New Consensus in Madrid,” Journal of Transatlantic Studies 8:1 (March 2010): 56-68.

“‘Jerry, Don’t Go’: Domestic Opposition to the 1975 Helsinki Final Act,” Journal of American Studies 44:1 (February 2010): 67-81.

Selected Publications

Chapters in Edited Collections

“Human Rights in U.S. Foreign Policy,” in Oxford Reference Encyclopedia (ORE) in American History ed. Mark Lawrence, (Oxford University Press, 2016).

“‘No Crowing’: Reagan, Trust, and Human Rights,”in “Trust, but Verify”: The Politics of Uncertainty and the Transformation of the Cold War Order, 1969-1971, ed. Reinhild Kreis, Martin Klimke, and Christian Ostermann, (Stanford University Press, 2016).

“The Rise of Human Rights During the Johnson Years,” in Beyond the Cold War: Lyndon Johnson and the New Global Challenges of the 1960s, ed. Francis J. Gavin and Mark Atwood Lawrence, (Oxford University Press, 2014).

“Principles Overwhelming Tanks: Human Rights and the End of the Cold War,” in The Human Rights Revolution: An International History, ed. Akira Iriye, Petra Goedde, and William Hitchcock, (Oxford University Press, 2011).

“The Defeat of Ernest Lefever's Nomination: Keeping Human Rights on the United States Foreign Policy Agenda,” in Challenging US Foreign Policy: America and the World in the Long Twentieth Century, ed. Bevan Sewell and Scott Lucas, (Palgrave, 2011).

“‘Promising Everything Under the Sun’: Helsinki Activism and Human Rights in Eastern Europe,” in The ‘Establishment’ Responds: Power and Protest During and After the Cold War, ed. Kathrin Fahlenbrach, Martin Klimke and Joachim Scharloth, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

“The Rise of the Helsinki Network: ‘A Sort of Lifeline’ for Eastern Europe,” in Perforating the Iron Curtain: European Détente, Transatlantic Relations, and the Cold War, 1965-1985, ed. Odd Arne Westad and Poul Villaume, (Museum Tusculanum Press, 2009).

“The U.S., Western Europe, and the CSCE, 1972−1975,” in The Strained Alliance: U.S.-European Relations from Nixon to Carter, ed. Matthias Schulz and Thomas A. Schwartz, (Cambridge University Press, 2009).