Member Profiles

The Monroe Group

Dr Mara Oliva

Job Title: Lecturer in Modern US History (20th century)

Contact Details:

Areas of Research: American political history; US foreign policy; US Presidency; Cold War; role of domestic politics in US foreign policy making (especially public opinion and media); Sino-American relations; Sino-American culture in the US; Climate Change diplomacy; Public Diplomacy; Digital Humanities.


Oliva, M. (2020) “Nixon in China” in Presidential Image; From Theodore Roosevelt to Donald Trump, pp.  ed. by Morgan, I. & White, M., I.B. Tauris Publishers, London.

Oliva, M. (2019) ‘Beaten at their own game: Eisenhower, Dulles, US public Opinion and the Sino-US Ambassadorial talks of 1955-1957’, accepted by Journal of Cold War Studies, will be published in winter 2019/2020 issue.

Oliva, M. & Shanahan, M. (2018) The Trump Presidency – from campaign trail to world stage, assesing the populist president’s first year, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan).

Oliva M. (2018) ‘Much Ado about Nothing: Trump’s China Policy’ in:  The Trump Presidency – from campaign trail to world stage, assessing the populist president’s first year, ed. by Oliva M. & Shanahan M. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan).

Oliva, M. (2018) Eisenhower and American Public Opinion on China. (New York: Palgrave MacMillan).

Oliva, M. (2018) ‘The Oratory of Dwight D. Eisenhower’, in: , Republican Orators from Eisenhower to Trump: Rhetoric, Politics and Society, Ed. by A. S. Crines and S. Hatzisavvidou, (London: Palgrave Macmillan) pp.11-39.

PhD Supervision

Dafydd Townley (Sept 2015-July 2018) –Spies, Civil Liberties, and the Senate: the 1975 Church Enquiry

Darius Wainwright (June 2016-Sept 2019) – British and US Cultural Diplomacy and Propaganda in Iran 1953-1958

Research Groups/Centres:

I am the British Association of International Studies’ US Foreign Policy Group Chair and will organising the annual conference in Reading in September 2020. In 2017, I co-founded the Monroe Group for the interdisciplinary study of US political history and politics with Dr Mark Shanahan (Department of Politics). I was the Vice-Chair of the American Politics Group of the Political Studies Association from 2016 to 2019. I am a member of Historians of the Twentieth Century US, the British Association of American Studies, and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations

Social Media: I regularly tweet about my research and current events –

Dr Mark Shanahan   


Job Title: Political Historian, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations

Contact Details:

Areas of Research: New developments in T&L pedagogy, especially the use of social media; US government and the celebritisation of American political culture from Eisenhower to Trump (and beyond); the role of Parliament in UK government.


Shanahan, Mark. (2018) ‘The Outsider Presidency’, in: M. Oliva and M.J. Shanahan (eds), The Trump Presidency – from Campaign Trail to World Stage. (London: Palgrave).

Shanahan, Mark. (2016) Eisenhower at the Dawn of the Space Age. (Maryland: Lexington Books), Winner of Neudstadt prize for American Politics Book of the Year 2017

Shanahan, Mark. (2015) ‘Pursuing the Parallel Track’,  in: A.J. Polsky (ed), The Eisenhower Presidency. (Maryland: Lexington Books).

Shanahan, Mark. (2012) The 240,000 mile cul de sac – how Kennedy won the moon race but got lost in space, 49thParallel, Issue 27, Winter 2012

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Dr Dafydd Townley 

Job Title: Lecturer in US history

Contact Details:

Areas of Research: My primary research interest is the relationship between national security and public opinion. National security encompasses both domestic and foreign policy, and I’m interested in what policymakers consider as public opinion, and how they are influenced by it in their decision-making. Secondary research areas include the US presidency and the executive branch’s agencies; protest groups of the 1960s and their influence on foreign policy; and the development of the Sunbelt in the 20th century.


Townley, D. (2018 – under review) ‘Selling a Blue Ribbon Goat: Gerald Ford and Public Opinion in the Year of Intelligence’, Journal of Cold War Studies.

PhD: ‘Spies, Civil Liberties, and the Senate: the 1975 Church Committe’

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Dr Joseph O’Mahoney 






Job Title: Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, University of Reading

Contact Details:

Areas of Research: My research agenda currently includes the norm dynamics of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, with a focus on how US foreign policy responded to the Indian nuclear test of 1974. I have also studied norm dynamics in other domains, like the role of nonrecognition in maintaining the normative prohibition on conquest, and the role of the British Empire in criminalising homosexuality around the world.


O’Mahoney, Joseph (2018). Denying the Spoils of War: The Politics of Invasion and Nonrecognition (Edinburgh University Press)

O’Mahoney, Joseph (2018) British Colonialism and the Criminalization of Homosexuality (Routledge Focus, 2018) 

O’Mahoney, Joseph (2017) “Proclaiming Principles: The Logic of the Nonrecognition of the Spoils of War”, Journal of Global Security Studies, 2(3): 204-219.

O’Mahoney, Joseph (2017) “Making The Real: Rhetorical Adduction and the Bangladesh Liberation War”, International Organization, 71(2): 317-348.

O’Mahoney, Joseph (2017) “Trump says that spoils belong to the victor. That’s an invitation to more war”, Monkey Cage at The Washington Post, 1 February 2017.

O’Mahoney, Joseph (2016) “A Liar in the Oval Office Could Threaten the World’s Order”, Time, (with David Banks) 17 November 2016.

O’Mahoney, Joseph (2016) “After Brexit, Britain is free – but it will never be a global power again”, The Independent, (with David Banks) 22 July 2016.

O’Mahoney, Joseph (2015) “Why Did They Do That?: The Methodology of Reasons for Action“, International Theory, 7(2): 231-262.

O’Mahoney, Joseph (2014) “Rule Tensions and the Dynamics of Institutional Change: From `To the Victor Go the Spoils’ to the Stimson Doctrine”, European Journal of International Relations, 20(3): 834-857.

Dr Graham O’Dwyer







Job Title: Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, University of Reading

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Areas of Research:

Job Title: Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, University of Reading

Contact Details:

Areas of Research: My area of research broadly concerns the relationship between decision-making, irrationality, and theories of cognitive psychology in both American and French foreign policy. My current research looks at Harry S. Truman’s foreign policy of the 1940s and 1950s in relation to the dropping of the atomic bomb as well as the foreign policy of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, Much of my previous work looked at Franco-American relations during the presidency of Charles de Gaulle. In addition to this, I am also working on an introductory text to cognitive psychology and decision-making for students of both foreign policy and international relations.


O’Dwyer, Graham (forthcoming, 2020). A Glitch in the (International) System: An Introduction to Cognitive Psychology. 

O’Dwyer, Graham (2017). Charles de Gaulle, the International System, and the Existential Difference (Routledge: Oxford)

Dr Sophia Hatzisavvidou 








Job Title: Lecturer in Politics

Contact Details:

Areas of Research: My research interests lie in the areas of political theory, rhetoric, and environmental politics. I am currently working with members of the Monroe Group on a project that studies Presidential rhetoric on climate change.


Hatzisavvidou, Sophia. (2019) “Inventing the Environmental State: Neoliberal Common Sense and the Limits to Transformation”, Environmental Politics, 29:1, 96-114. 

Sophia Hatzisavvidou (2019) ‘The climate has always been changing’: Sarah Palin, climate change denialism, and American conservatism, Celebrity Studies

Hatzisavvidou, S. and Crines, A. S. (2018) Republican Orators from Eisenhower to Trump (Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan).

Hatzisavvidou, S. (2018) ‘The Rhetoric and Oratory of Sarah Palin’, in: A. Scott Crines and S. Hatzisavvidou (eds), Republican Orators from Eisenhower to Trump, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan)

Hatzisavvidou, S. (2018 – forthcoming) ‘Communicating Sustainability: Shifting Context, Altering Content?’, in: O. Kramer (ed), Recontextualising Knowledge.

Hatzisavvidou, S. (2017) ‘Demanding the Alternative: The Rhetoric of the UK Anti-austerity Movement’, in: J. Atkins and J.Gaffney (eds), Voices of the UK Left. (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).

Hatzisavvidou, S. (2017) ‘Reading Heidegger in the Anthropocene’, in: L, Odysseos and A. Cerella (eds), Heidegger and the Global Age. (London: Rowman and Littlefield).

Hatzisavvidou, S. (2016) Appearances of Ethos in Political Thought. (London: Rowman and Littlefield Int.).

Hatzisavvidou, S. (2016) ‘Disputatious Rhetoric and Political Change: The Case of the Greek Anti-mining Movement’, Political Studies, 65, 1, pp.215-230.

Hatzisavvidou, S. (2015) ‘Defending the Indefensible: Obama’s Rhetoric in the Aftermath of the Torture Report’, Global Discourse: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Current Affairs and Applied Contemporary Thought, 5, 4. pp. 509-522.

Hatzisavvidou, S. (2015) ‘Disturbing Binaries in Political Thought: Silence as Political Activism’. Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest, 14, 5, pp.509-522.

Hatzisavvidou, S. (2015) ‘An Ethos Against Scarcity: Sketching an Ethic of Care and Dike for Late Modernity’. Ethics and the Environment, 20, 2, pp.24-47.

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Darius Wainwright

Job Title: Sessional Lecturer

Contact Details:

Areas of Research: My principal research interests lie in ‘special relationship’, Anglo-American foreign policy and Iran since 1945. I am particularly interested in how the UK and US used culture to achieve their diplomatic goals in Iran and to attract Iranians towards their respective values and lifestyles. My future research plans are to build on the foundations of my PhD to further examine US foreign policy, specifically cultural diplomacy, as well as on US-Iran relations post-Cold War.


Wainwright, D. (2016) ‘Equal Partners? The Information Research Department, SAVAK and the Dissemination of Anti-Communist Propaganda in Iran, 1956-68’, The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 

PhD: British and US Cultural Diplomacy and Propaganda in Iran 1953-1958

Social Media:

Melanie Khuddro








Job Title: Doctoral Researcher and Sessional Lecturer

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Areas of Research: My thesis traces the emergence of New Religious Movements in the US during the 19th century. In particular, I am interested in the establishment of the Christian Science Church and the influential women who were members. Through insisting itself to be an apolitical movement, the political alliances of each of these women were clearly informed by their faith. I seek to draw parallels between the theology and practices of the Church with popular social politics at the turn of the century.

Research Groups: I’m the project Impact Assistant for the Astor100 research project headed by Dr Jacqui Turner (University of Reading), and Social Media Lead for the year-long Digital Exhibition.

Recipient of the American Politics Group Travel Award.

Beth Snyder

Job Title:  Social Media Editor for the Monroe Group

Contact Details:

Areas of Interest: My key interests lie in American and women’s history, particularly the study of women in positions of leadership and politics. I am currently researching the impact of women in the US cabinet on environmental policy, and I plan to go on to a PhD on First Ladies and environmental politics.

I was awarded a MA with distinction and the Jeanette Martin Prize for Best student of the Year by the University of Reading in 2019.