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Professor Barbara Keys

Professor (US History)

Professor (US History) in the Department of History+44 (0) 191 33 47211


Barbara Keys is a specialist in U.S. and international history. She began her teaching career in 2003 after receiving her PhD in History from Harvard University. Before coming to Durham, she taught at the University of Melbourne. She has been a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Law and Society at UC Berkeley, the Center for European Studies at Harvard, the Center for the History of Emotions at the Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung in Berlin, and the Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte in Mainz.

She is currently finishing two books, one on Henry Kissinger's legacy and one on anti-torture campaigns since 1945. Her research and teaching areas include human rights, diplomacy, U.S. foreign relations, and the Cold War in global perspective. Many of her publications can be found at She is the recipient of the 2010 Stuart Bernath Lecture Prize, awarded by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the University of Melbourne's 2015 Woodward Medal in Humanities and Social Sciences for her book Reclaiming American Virtue. She was the 2019 President of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

Professor Keys welcomes expressions of interest from prospective postgraduate students interested in the history of human rights, 20th century diplomacy, U.S. foreign relations, social movements, emotions, or international sport.

Research interests

  • Henry Kissinger and Sino-U.S. relations
  • History of diplomacy
  • History of emotions
  • History of human rights
  • History of international sport

Esteem Indicators

  • 2019: President: President, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations


Authored book

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Other (Print)