Gretchen Heefner is associate professor of history. She teaches and researches the history of the U.S. 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: The Minuteman in the American 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. She has consulted with the National Park Service on their Minuteman Missile Historic Site in South Dakota. The Missile Next Door was selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic title in 2013.
Professor Heefner’s work current research project, tentatively titled “From the Red Desert to the Red Planet,” examines the role of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in constructing military facilities in arid environments since the 1940s. Articles based on this research have recently been published in Diplomatic History, Environmental History, and Endeavour.
Professor Heefner teaches courses in 20th Century U.S. and world history, including courses on the Cold War, Dissent, Americans Abroad, and U.S. Conservatism.