Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies - Modern East Asia, Modern History of International Relations, Communism
Ph.D., University of London
Laura M Calkins holds an undergraduate degree in international relations from The Honors College and James Madison College at Michigan State University. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to the United Kingdom, and she elected to study international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she earned a Master of Science degree in 1984. She was awarded The School's Bursary by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), where she earned a Master of Arts degree in Modern Far Eastern History. With the support of an Overseas Research Student Award from the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of the Universities of the United Kingdom, she earned a doctorate from SOAS, University of London, in the Modern International History of Asia.
Calkins has held an assistant professorship at Oglethorpe University, Atlanta, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Ethics and Value Studies from the National Science Foundation at the University of Michigan's College of Engineering. Among her other positions have been that of Program Manager of the Women's Studies Program at the University of Michigan, Assistant Research Scientist at Michigan's Bentley Historical Library, and Assistant Oral Historian at the Vietnam Archive, Texas Tech University. She is the co-author, with Dr Richard Burks Verrone, of Voices from Vietnam: Eyewitness Accounts of the War, 1954-1975 (London: David and Charles, 2005) and in 2013 published China and the First Vietnam War, 1947-54 (New York: Routledge, 2013).
In 2008 she was a member of the National Endowment for the Humanities Institute on Holy Land, Holy City at the Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University of Oxford. She has served as Director of the Women's Studies Program at Texas Tech University, and as a member and then Chair of the Humanities Core Area Committee of the SACS accreditation review effort based in the TTU Office of the Provost. In 2009 she was a visiting faculty member of the L'cole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and she was appointed as an Assistant Professor of International and Comparative History in the TTU Department of History in 2009. Calkins was awarded the New Faculty Award in 2012 and the President's Excellence in Teaching Award in 2015.
China and The First Vietnam War, 1947-1954
This book charts the development of the First Vietnam War – the war between the Vietnamese Communists (the Viet Minh) and the French colonial power—considering especially how relations between the Viet Minh and the Chinese Communists had a profound impact on the course of the war. It shows how the Chinese provided finance, training, and weapons to the Viet Minh, but how differences about strategy emerged, particularly when China became involved in the Korean War and the subsequent peace negotiations, when the need to placate the United States and to prevent US military involvement in Southeast Asia became a key concern for the Chinese. The book shows how the Viet Minh strategy of all-out war in the North and limited guerrilla warfare in the South developed from this situation, and how the war then unfolded.
Voices From Vietnam
The political and military struggles in Vietnam consumed the resources of both the East and the West. Once the United States committed its armed forces in 1965 to defend South Vietnam's independence, the conflict took on epic dimensions. The Vietnam War marked the largest commitment of American combat forces since World War II and became the longest war in US history. This remarkable collection of human stories from all sides of the conflict charts the war from its opening stages to the dramatic evacuation of Saigon in April 1975. Compiled from hundreds of interviews with veterans and eye-witnesses, and including rare archival photographs, it provides a unique insight into the most socially and politically divisive war of recent times.
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