The Rooseveltian Century




Roosevelt Institute for American Studies

Middelburg, The Netherlands

30 November - 1 December 2017


Frank Costigliola (University of Connecticut) 
Michael Cullinane (Northumbria University) 
Mario Del Pero (SciencesPo)
Mary Dudziak (Emory University) 
Sylvia Ellis (University of Roehampton) 
Petra Goedde (Temple University) 
Justin Hart (Texas Tech University)
Lisa McGirr (Harvard University)
Kiran Patel (University of Maastricht)



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


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.


'The Rooseveltian Century' - MOOC Goes Live

At the end of January the online course 'The Rooseveltian Century' went online via the Coursera platform. This course, a Massive Online Open-Access Course (MOOC) accessible free of charge, examines the lives, work and influence of the three principal Roosevelts: Theodore, Eleanor, and Franklin. By looking at their ideals and what they achieved through the three key themes of Security, Equality, and Freedom, the course takes the participant through the twentieth century and asks the participant to consider how far we can refer to it as a Rooseveltian century. The course was created by TSA's Giles Scott-Smith and Dario Fazzi and funded by Leiden University, and it will run On Demand with several starting dates through the year.


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