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Kenneth Kolander

Visiting Assistant Professor

Teaching Fields:


Ph.D., West Virginia University, 2016

M.A., University of Kansas, 2011

B.A., Simpson College, 2003


Research Interests:

I am a historian of the twentieth century United States with a focus on foreign relations with the Middle East generally, and Israel specifically. My research examines how U.S. domestic forces, especially the U.S. Congress, redefined the “special relationship” between the United States and Israel. My current book project, The Military-Industrial Peace Process: Congress, the Executive, and the U.S.-Israel Special Relationship, 1967-1979, is a historical and political study of the Congress’s impact on U.S.-Israel relations, U.S.-Middle East relations, and U.S. involvement in the Arab-Israeli peace process. Between 1967 and 1979, the United States placed itself at the center of Arab-Israeli peacemaking and became Israel’s closest and most important supporter. Also during this time period, congressional power and influence in foreign relations became unusually strong. Yet no study of U.S.-Israel relations focuses primarily on the role of Congress, which can bring together the three main factors that scholars use to explain the U.S.-Israel special relationship: national security concerns, cultural similarities (Judeo-Christian religious tradition, democracy, and historical experience), and the importance of domestic politics, especially the activities of the Israel lobby. My work aims to transform the narrative of U.S.-Israel relations, which treats the legislative branch as being incidental to foreign policymaking, by showing that Congress has played a crucial role in advancing the special relationship, particularly between 1967 and 1979.


Courses Offered:

HIST 105: History of the Middle East

HIST 152: Growth of the American Nation to 1865

HIST 153: Making Modern America, 1865-Present

HIST 200: Practicing History

HIST 261: Recent America: United States since 1918

HIST 276: 20th Century United States Foreign Relations

HIST 293F: United States Foreign Relations with the Middle East, 1945-Present

HIST 293V: The Making of the Middle East

HIST 393: Arab-Israeli Conflict and Peace

HIST 464: American Foreign Relations, 1941-Present



“Phantom Peace: Henry “Scoop” Jackson, J. William Fulbright, and Military Sales to Israel,” Diplomatic History, accepted.

 “The June 1967 Arab-Israeli War: Soviet Policy by Other Means?” Middle Eastern Studies, Volume 52, Issue 3, May 2016, p. 402-418.

 “What Do Unpopular Wars Have in Common?” History News Network, June 14, 2015,