David Allen

David Allen

Field: International/Global
Advisor: Matthew Connelly
Year: 2012

David Allen is a doctoral candidate in International and Global History. Born in Nottingham in the United Kingdom, he graduated in 2010 from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, with a double first in History. After a year as a Herchel Smith Scholar at Harvard University, he received an MPhil in Historical Studies in 2012, also from the University of Cambridge. At Columbia, David served as the Graduate History Association’s co-president for 2013-2014.

David’s work focuses on the intersection of foreign and domestic politics in the United States. His dissertation explores the foundations of American global power through a history of the idea and importance of “public opinion.” It does so by telling the story of the Foreign Policy Association, the nation’s leading institution dedicated to the education of the public in foreign affairs. Moving between the state, philanthropic foundations, scholars, and activists, the dissertation breaks down boundaries between transnational, national, and local history to offer a new approach to an old question: just how democratic has American foreign policy been?

As part of Columbia’s History Lab team, David has conducted research in the history of official secrecy, and, with a team of computer scientists and statisticians, he has helped to think through and develop digital techniques useful to future historians facing an unprecedented volume of documents. An introduction to that work, authored with Matthew Connelly, will appear in a new edition of the field-defining Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations.

David is also a freelance classical music critic for the New York Times, writing that has benefitted from History in Action, the AHA-Mellon Career Diversity Pilot Program. Many of his articles are collected here.


With Matthew Connelly, “Diplomatic History After the Big Bang: Using Computational Methods to Explore the Infinite Archive,” in Frank Costigliola and Michael J. Hogan (eds.), Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations, 3rd ed. (forthcoming)

“Realism and Malarkey: Henry Kissinger, the State Department, and Domestic Consensus,” Journal of Cold War Studies 17 (Summer 2015), pp. 184-219

“The Peace Corps in US Foreign Relations and Church-State Politics,” Historical Journal 58 (March 2015), pp. 245-273