Gretchen Heefner

Heefner headshot

Ph. D., Yale University; United States and the World, 20th Century U.S. History, Western History, Environmental History, Political History

227 Meserve Hall

T: (617) 373-7346


Gretchen Heefner is an Assistant Professor of History. She teaches and researches the history of the US in the world, with a focus on the Cold War, militarization and the surprisingly intimate relations between national security regimes and the everyday. Her first book, The Missile Next Door: Cold War Minuteman in the America Heartland (Harvard University Press, 2012), traces the deployment of nuclear missiles across the American heartland in the late 1950s and 1960s. The book argues for the importance of viewing both military and foreign policy history not as stand-alone subjects, but as crucial aspects of the social and political history of the United States. Dr. Heefner has also published articles on historic memory and the international implications of Hawaiian statehood in the Western Historical Quarterly and the Pacific Historical Review. Her current research project, tentatively titled “Roads to Nowhere,” examines the role of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in constructing roadways and airstrips in Northern Africa during the late 1940s and early 1950s.