Cody J. Foster

  • Ph.D. Candidate
  • Presidential Fellow
  • History
1715 Patterson Office Tower
Research Interests:

Ph.D., University of Kentucky (Expected 2018)

M.Phil, University of Cambridge (Queens' College), 2013

B.A., Indiana University, 2012


Cody J. Foster, Ph.D. Candidate in History and Presidential Fellow in History at the University of Kentucky, is a historian of America in the World specializing in transnational activism, resistance movements, government secrecy, and war crimes. His work focuses on the Vietnam War and the interconnected movements that resisted war, imperialism, and colonialism, along with the reverberating effects that this had on the global Cold War. He has been featured in the USA Today, The New York Times, and The Courier-Journal, has written professional articles for The Journal of the Historical Society, Essays in History, ​and Passport, and has contributed to The Huffington Post, History News Network, Counterpunch, ​and The Lexington-Herald Leader. He is currently working on his dissertation, "Inconvenient Truths and Reassuring Lies: How an International Group of Whistleblowers Exposed America's Secret War in Vietnam."


Advisor: Dr. Lien-Hang Nguyen (Columbia University)

Cody's dissertation, "Inconvenient Truths & Reassuring Lies: How A Group of Whistleblowers Exposed America's Secret War in Vietnam," follows transnational anti-war activists who opposed America's war in Vietnam and set out to uncover evidence of war crimes and human rights violations in Vietnamese villages. Through the International War Crimes Tribunal, activists from around the world interacted with US government officials, Cuban officials, and Vietnamese officials as they created a global protest movement before and after 1968. Their legacy outlasted their performance as leftist radicals enraged by U.S. global operations turned to political violence to resist oppression around the world. This study connects pre-1968 non-violent activism with post-1968 leftist violence in order to provide a more comprehensive - and global - view of the anti-war movement. 

Cody's past research focused on America's Former Presidents. His Cambridge dissertation, "Herbert Hoover's Challenge to Interventionism, 1938-1941," argues that while Roosevelt crafted a more interventionist foreign policy, and as the isolationists and internationalists took polemic stances against these policies, Hoover used his post-presidential prestige to oppose interventionism and design a moderate approach rooted in the defense of liberty, democracy, freedom, and peace. In so doing, he created a unique non-interventionist approach that drew on ideas from the isolationist and internationalist movements in order to execute a global humanitarian mission that projected America's sense of democracy and liberalism into the hearts and minds of foreign citizens suffering from war. He challenged conventional wisdom by providing a pragmatic alternative to military intervention that thrived on support from a decentralized network of American volunteers. Parts of this dissertation were published in The Journal of the Historical Society, History News Network, The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and the USA Today. 

Selected Publications: 

Book Sections

“National Security Agency” in Paul I. Joseph, ed. The Sage Encyclopedia of War: Social Science Perspectives. New York: Sage Publications, forthcoming.

“The New Left,” in Andrew Hartman, ed., The College Researcher: The 1960s. Gale, forthcoming.

“William Westmoreland,” in Andrew Hartman, ed., The College Researcher: America in Vietnam. Gale, forthcoming.

“My Lai Massacre,” in Andrew Hartman, ed., The College Researcher: America in Vietnam. Gale, forthcoming.


Peer-Reviewed Articles

“A Forgotten Catalyst: Herbert Hoover and the Creation of the Modern American Post-Presidency,” Journal of the Historical Society 13.1 (March 2013): 69-94.


Book Reviews

“America’s Identity Crisis,” review of Christian G. Appy, American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity. New York: Viking, 2015 in Essays in History (2016)



See CV for more publications.

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