Skip to main content

James F. Siekmeier

Associate Professor

Teaching Fields

  • U.S. History, 1865-Present
  • History of U.S. Foreign Relations
  • Latin America and the World


  • Ph.D., Cornell University, 1993
  • M.A., Cornell University, 1989
  • B.A. with honors, Oberlin College, 1984

Research Interests

In Dr. Siekmeier's book,  The Bolivian Revolution and the United States, 1952 to the Present, he investigates the multifaceted relationship between the most powerful nation in the world and one of world’s poorer nations, Bolivia. Despite the asymmetry of power, Bolivia’s relationship with the United States has been a two-way street. Bolivia has managed, in some ways, to influence its relationship with the United States. Some Bolivian leaders have skillfully used Bolivia’s chronic political instability to obtain increased U.S. support. These officials informed their counterparts in Washington that Bolivia could be on the verge of political collapse—unless U.S. leaders gave increased assistance—which then was quickly forthcoming. In addition, during the Cold War, Bolivian officials quietly sent out feelers to the Eastern Bloc nations for assistance, in order to leverage more aid from the United States. The technique worked: as soon as U.S. officials discovered Bolivia’s contacts with the communist nations, Washington increased assistance to Bolivia. Moreover Bolivian leaders have resisted Washington’s attempts to promote U.S. culture into Bolivia, such as when Bolivia abruptly asked U.S. Peace Corps volunteers to leave in 1971. Bolivian leaders disagreed with Peace Corps policy of promoting population/birth control; Bolivian officials thought limiting Bolivia’s population would weaken the nation in the long run.

Dr. Siekmeier's most recent book is a history of the intersection of nationalism and globalization in Latin America. Currently, Dr. Siekmeier is working on a history of the so-called "war on drugs," the U.S. effort to suppress the production and export of illegal narcotics, in Latin America. His work aims to place the drug war in international context, but focusing on the Andean region .

Courses Offered

  • HIST 153: Making of Modern America
  • HIST 276: History of U.S. Foreign Relations in the 20th century
  • HIST 365: Vietnam War
  • HIST 370: Latin America and the World
  • HIST 375: Hollywood and History
  • HIST 463: American Foreign Policy, 1776-1941
  • HIST 464: American Foreign Policy, 1941-present
  • HIST 765: Readings in the history of US Foreign Relations
  • HIST 766: Seminar in the history of US Foreign Relations

Students Advised

Ph.D. Students
M.A. Students
  • Keegan Mahony
  • Kaylar Moser
  • John Zekan



Latin American Nationalism: Identity in a Globalizing World (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017)

Aid, Nationalism and Inter-American relations: Guatemala, Bolivia, and the United States , 1944-1961 (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 1999)

La revolución nacional y los Estados Unidos : conflictos y negociaciones, 1952-1964 / James F. Siekmeier ; traducción e Hans Huber Abendroth. (La Paz, Bolivia: Plural, 2014)

The Bolivian Revolution and the United States, 1945-present (Penn State University Press, 2011)

Selected Journal and Chapter Publications

“Evolution of Nationalism in Latin America in the Context of Globalization,” in Baisotti, Pablo A. , ed. Problems and Alternatives in the Modern Americas. (New York: Routledge, expected 2022).

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Vol. E-10, Documents on American Republics, 1969–1972, eds. Douglas Kraft and James Siekmeier (Washington: Government Printing Office, 2009)

Foreign Relations of the United States,  1969–1977, Volume XXI, Chile, 1969–1973, eds. James McElveen and James Siekmeier  (W ashington: Government Printing Office, 2014)

Foreign Relations of the United States,  1969–1976, Vol. E-16, Documents on Chile, 1969–1973, eds. James McElveen and James Siekmeier  ( Washington: Government Printing Office, 2015)

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Documents on South America, 1973–1976, Vol. E-11, Part 2, eds. Sara Berndt, Halbert Jones, and James Siekmeier (Washington: Government Printing Office, 2015)

Foreign Relations of the United States , 1969–1977, Volume XXII, Panama, 1973–1976, eds. Bradley L. Coleman, Alexander O. Poster, and James F. Siekmeier (Washington: Government Printing Office, 2015)

“Historiography of U.S-Latin American Relations in the Mid-Twentieth Century” in Dietrich, Christopher R. W., ed., _A Companion to U.S. Foreign Relations: Colonial Era to the Present_ (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley- Blackwell, 2020): 749-770.

Siekmeier, James F., ed. “Chapter 19-- The United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean since 1961,” in McPherson, Alan, gen. ed., The SHAFR Guide: An Annotated Bibliography of U.S. Foreign Relations since 1600, 4th ed. (Boston: Brill, expected 2022).

“Nationalism and Globalization in Latin America,”  Current History 15, February 2015.

"The Iran –Contra Scandal,” in Andrew Johns, ed.  A Companion to Ronald Reagan (Wiley-Blackwell Companions to American History), 2015.

“La Revolución Nacional en Bolivia y los Estados Unidos: conflicto, nacionalismo, y negociatión, 1952-1971,” in Roberto García Ferreira, ed.,  Nada templada: La Guerra Fria Latinamericana (Montevideo: Universidad de la República, Departamento de Historia Americana, 2010).

“Latin American Economic Nationalism and United States-Latin American Relations, 1945-1961.”  The Latin Americanist 52:3 (October 2008): 59-76.

“Persistent Condor and Predatory Eagle: Bolivian Relations with the United States, 1952-1964,” essay published in Statler, Kathryn C., and Johns, Andrew L., eds.,  The Eisenhower Administration, the Third World, and the Globalization of the Cold War , (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006).

“Politics, Access, and History: The Chile Declassification Project of 1998-2000,”  Hemisphere (October 2004).

“Trailblazer Diplomat: Victor Andrade Uzquiano’s Efforts to Influence U.S. Policy, 1944-1962,”  Diplomatic History 28 (June 2004).

“A Sacrificial Llama? The Expulsion of the Peace Corps from Bolivia in 1971,”  Pacific Historical Review 69 (February 2000).

Grants and Awards

  • Franklin Travel Award, American Philosophical Society, 2020
  • West Virginia Humanities Council Grant, 2014
  • Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, 2002 
  • Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, 1996-1997
  • Mellon Dissertation Completion Grant, 1991-1992