Allison Powers Useche
Ph.D., Columbia University
Allison Powers Useche is a legal and political historian of modern North America with a regional focus on the US Southwest. Her research and teaching explore questions of United States imperialism, US-Latin American relations, international order, and resource distribution in global perspective. She is currently at work on a book about how residents of US-annexed territories used international law to challenge colonial dispossession during the era of territorial expansion. The project follows thousands of claimants ranging from canal builders in Panama to sharecroppers in Texas and copper miners in Arizona who charged the US government with promoting forms of racialized violence and labor coercion that violated the international legal norms known as the “standard of civilization.” Through uncovering this forgotten tradition of claims against the United States, the book explains why a conceptual and institutional framework that facilitated American imperial interventions throughout the nineteenth century collapsed during the first decades of the twentieth, prompting foreign policymakers to develop new strategies for projecting US power abroad.
Dr. Powers teaches in the fields of United States and Texas History, the US Southwest, US Foreign Relations, and Comparative Colonialisms. Before joining the history department at Texas Tech University, she was a Past & Present Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. She holds a B.A. in History with Highest Honors from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University, where her dissertation was awarded the Bancroft Prize for American History and Diplomacy. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the University of London's School of Advanced Study, the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, the American Historical Association, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, the Institute for Latin American Studies at Columbia University, and Columbia's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.