Associate Professor of History
Office Location: 224 Meredith Hall
Curt Cardwell teaches courses in U.S. foreign relations history and twentieth-century U.S. history more generally, although he is eager to teach early US history and plans to do so in the near future. He also teaches world history and the senior capstone in U.S. history. His research focuses mainly on US foreign relations during the Cold War, both at home and abroad. In 2011, he published NSC 68 and the Political Economy of the Early Cold War with Cambridge University Press, a study that focused on the interrelationship between the massive rearmament program that the U.S. began in 1950 (NSC 68) and the development of the postwar capitalist global economy. More recently, he published two historiographical articles in edited volumes, the first, “NSC 68 and the National Security State,” in Daniel Margolies, ed., A Companion to Harry S. Truman, and the second, “The Cold War,” in Michael J. Hogan and Frank Costigliola, eds., America and the World. His current research is focused on the U.S. Mutual Security Program and its use as a means of spreading capitalism and combatting communism across the globe in the 1950s, tentatively titled “The Dual Purpose: Military Aid as Economic Aid in the Early Cold War.” On the back burner, but still simmering, is a study on the Cold War and the U.S. Interstate Highway tentatively titled “Cold War Highway.”
Cardwell earned a B.A. in history from the University of California, Davis, a M.A. in history from California State University, Sacramento, and a Ph.D. in history from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he studied under Lloyd Gardner, one of the most prominent diplomatic historians of the twentieth century. He has been at Drake since 2005.
Cardwell hails from sunny Southern California and is still adjusting, with little success, to Iowa winters. He is a proud veteran of the U.S. Army, having served in Germany during the Cold War from 1985 to 1988. After his service, he started going to college and simply never stopped. He considers himself first and foremost to be a student of history and secondarily a professor. His greatest love is teaching history to students and feels privileged and honored to be able to do so. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, music, cooking, debating with friends on Facebook, and hanging out with his wife and daughter.