Skip to main content

Contact Information

412 Greenlaw Hall, CB #3520
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3520


BA/MA Leiden University 2004
PhD Leiden University 2012

Research interests

My research focuses on the interaction between United States foreign relations and democratic values in inter-American and transatlantic settings. Methodologically, I seek to explore the boundaries between formal diplomacy and broader social and political developments by, for example, investigating the position of us diplomats in foreign societies, the engagement of foreign audiences with us representatives, and the role of political narratives in us public diplomacy. These interests have guided my research since the beginning of my academic career, when I focused primarily on US involvement with dictatorial regimes in Central America during World War II. More recently, I’ve paid particular attention to ideologies of productivity and consumerism, national and Trans-Atlantic identities and commemoration, and the intersections of race and diplomacy. Two of my current projects focus on public diplomacy of the Marshall Plan and US influence on race and racial discourse in Europe.


Jorrit van den Berk and Frank Mehring, “Forging the American Century: World War II and the Transformation of US Internationalism”, International Journal of History, Culture, and Modernity 6:1 (2019).

Jorrit van den Berk and Laura Visser-Maessen, “Race Matters: 1968 as Living History in the Black Freedom Struggle”, European Journal of American Studies 14:1 (March 2019).

Jorrit van den Berk, “The Promise of Democracy for the Americas: US diplomacy and the Meaning(s) of World War II in El Salvador, 1941-1945”, in Hans Bak, Frank Mehring, Mathilde Roza (eds), Politics and Cultures of Liberation: Media, Memory, and Projections of Democracy (Brill, 2018).

Jorrit van den Berk, Becoming a Good Neighbor Among Dictators. The U.S. Foreign Service in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras (Palgrave MacMillan, 2018).

Jorrit van den Berk, “‘We should not content ourselves with a sham’: The US Foreign Service and the Central American elections of the early 1930s”, Journal of Latin American Studies 48:2 (May 2016) pp 221-246.