Garrett McKinnon is a PhD candidate in the department of history specializing in twentieth-century United States history within a global context. At Duke, he completed fields of study focusing on the history of the United States in the world, U.S. social movements from the revolutionary war to the present, and global and comparative political economy. As an instructor of record at Duke, he has taught courses on modern warfare, United States political history from 1890 to 2020, and United States Civil War and Reconstruction. His primary advisor is Dirk Bönker.
McKinnon is completing his dissertation, titled: "Automating Violence: A History of United States Machine Warfare, 1900-1970." It presents U.S. pursuits of “pilotless airplanes,” drones, missiles, and satellites as a lens into the nation’s militant way of being in the world. McKinnon’s work foregrounds cultural contests surrounding gender, technology, and loss interrogating why the recurrent vulnerability of airmen in combat made substituting machine for man in war attractive to U.S. scientists and policy makers across the twentieth-century.
McKinnon’s research has won fellowship and grant support from Duke University, his previous institution Louisiana State University, and external institutions including: the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History; the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering, and Technology; the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library; and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Foundation, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation, each in association with the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
Current Research Interests
United States History
Military, War, and Society Studies
History of Science, Technology, and Medicine
Social Movement History
History of Gender and Sexuality
Current Appointments & Affiliations
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