Melani McAlister is a professor of American studies and international affairs at the George Washington University, in Washington, DC. Her work has focused primarily on the cultural histories of the United States in the world, examining the multiple vectors of American power along with resistance and challenges to that power. She is the author of Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and US Interests in the Middle East since 1945 (University of California Press, 2001) and The Kingdom of God Has No Borders: A Global History of American Evangelicals (Oxford University Press, 2018) and a coeditor of four scholarly collections, including the Cambridge History of America and the World: Volume 4, 1945 to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2022).
McAlister is currently working on a broad cultural study of the circulation of Third World music and literature in the United States in the 1970s, exploring how Third World artists worked with alternative US cultural distributors such as small presses, feminist bookstores, and independent record companies. The book will explore how artist and distributors worked together to make Third World cultural productions into political projects, sparking new forms of decolonial imagination.
McAlister holds a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead Scholar, and a PhD in American studies from Brown University. She serves as treasurer on the board of directors of the American Council of Learned Societies. She has written for the Atlantic, the Nation, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, among others.