Amy Rutenberg

Modern U.S., Women's & Gender History, War & Society, Social Studies Education


Office:617 Ross
527 Farm House Ln.
Ames IA


In the broadest terms, my research focuses on the relationships among military service, race, gender, militarization, and American society in the second half of the twentieth century. My first book, Rough Draft: Cold War Military Manpower Policy and the Origins of Vietnam-Era Draft Resistance (Cornell University Press, fall 2019), explores how the policy community’s assumptions about gender, race, class, and the Cold War led it to target working-class and minority men for the draft and middle-class, white men for deferments in the years leading up to the Vietnam War. My work has appeared in Cold War History, The New York Times, and

I am currently working on two projects. I am researching a book on how peace activism influenced military manpower policies since the advent of the all-volunteer force in 1973. Although not well known, an international grassroots network of activists helped individual servicepeople leave the military and upgrade discharges, limited military access to high schools, and subverted Selective Service registration. Congress, the Department of Defense, and the individual service branches had no choice but to pay attention to them. I am also editing a volume on twentieth-century conscription around the world.

I also co-coordinate the secondary social studies education program and am happy to answer questions from students considering the profession of teaching.