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Ben Offiler

Dr Ben Offiler

Lecturer in History


I am a Lecturer in History with particular interests in the history of American philanthropy, development discourse, and US-Iranian relations during the Cold War. My current project focuses on the role that the Near East Foundation, an American philanthropic NGO, played in shaping post-war US-Iranian relations.


I completed my PhD (2014) and MA in American Foreign Policy (2011) at the University of Nottingham, having previouslyobtained a BA (Hons) History from the University of Leeds (2007). I taught American history at the University of Nottingham, University of Sheffield, and University of Hull before joining Sheffield Hallam in 2016.

My research interests include US foreign relations, American and international philanthropy, modernization and development, and US-Iranian relations during the Cold War. My first book, US Foreign Policy and the Modernization of Iran: Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and the Shah was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2015.

My current project focuses on the post-war development, education and sanitation activities of the philanthropic Near East Foundation in Iran. I am interested in the ways in which non-governmental, philanthropic organisations and actors such as the NEF sought to influence, shape and challenge US foreign policy.

I teach on a number of different modules at Sheffield Hallam, including The Cold War Era and American Politics and Society since 1968. I enjoy supervising dissertations on any aspect of American history and welcome postgraduate students interested in research relating to US foreign relations, philanthropy, development, and Iran during the Cold War.


American history; US foreign relations;
Cold War; US-Iranian relations;
American philanthropy


Department of Humanities

Social Sciences and Arts


BA (Hons) History;
BA (Hons) English and History

The Cold War Era
American Politics and Society since 1968


"Helping Needy People to Help Themselves": The Near East Foundation, Philanthropy, and US-Iranian relations


Journal articles

Offiler, B. (2021). 'A Spectacular Irritant': US-Iranian Relations during the 1960s and the World's Best Dressed Man. The Historian, 83 (1), 21-43.

Offiler, B. (2018). ‘Marriage’, ‘Massage', Metaphor and Gender in US–Iranian Relations During the 1960s. The International History Review, 1-16.


Offiler, B. (2015). US Foreign Policy and the Modernization of Iran Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and the Shah. Springer.

Other activities

Executive Committee, British Association for American Studies


Ben's research focuses on the relationship between the United States and Iran during the twentieth-century. He is currently working on a project about the philanthropic Near East Foundation';s role in shaping US-Iranian relations during the Cold War.

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