Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs
George Washington University
Department of Political Science
21115 G. St. NW, 440 Monroe Hall
Washington, DC 20052
ericgryn [at] gwu.edu
|About this page
Over the last four years, I have been working on a book project about agency in international politics called America's Middlemen. It focuses on how people who travel between communities develop forms of political power that shape world politics. The central argument is that studies of American foreign policy in political science ignore people who develop their influence from their ability to travel across borders, linking elites in Washington to regions on the periphery. When people develop effective positions between societies, they control the circulation of information. A piece of the project is here and the book is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.
The book focuses on how these intermediaries, such as missionaries, traders, former slaves, and junior officers, use their positions between societies to secure the alliances with irregular forces upon which the United States has depended in its warfighting over time.
Many of these irregular allies have interesting stories, but they are rarely described by historians and never by political scientists. The records in U.S. archives are often difficult to find, and I want to make some of them available to people from the communities in which people were recruited. For most I provide a narrative. In the end, I hope to put up enlistment rolls as well for as many units as I can, even if no narrative is possible.
This page does not summarize the book, which is about the recruiters. Instead, it focuses on what I can report about the contributions made by the allies themselves.