I am Zac Cunningham,
a foreign relations historian.
I possess a master of arts in the history of U.S. foreign relations after 1945 with a particular focus on propaganda, information warfare, and public diplomacy during the Cold War. My thesis, titled Project HOPE as Propaganda: A Humanitarian Nongovernmental Organization Takes Part in America’s Total Cold War, recounts an American hospital ship’s voyage to Southeast Asia in late 1960 and examines how this ship and its mission fit into U.S. information efforts within non-aligned nations as well as within the United States. My path to becoming a historian began with the propaganda in my grandfather’s recordings of World War II-era radio programs and hearing exhortations to buy bonds, save waste kitchen fat, and collect scrap metal.
My interest in propaganda is not limited to 20th century history, however. I am also deeply interested in contemporary mis- and disinformation from state and non-state actors alike and how it increases political violence, hate, and extremism, contributes to authoritarianism, and undermines democracy globally.
My Wavelength is where I share writing and research by others on contemporary propaganda and information warfare. When my current day job permits, I occasionally post my own writings on the history of propaganda, contemporary information warfare, and U.S. foreign relations more broadly.
I am presently a museum educator with The George Washington Foundation, where I direct the Foundation’s digital education efforts. I lead a team of scholars in researching, writing, and producing digital content for the Lives & Legacies blog. A collection of my research, writing, graphic design, and video production work can be seen on the My Work page.
I graduated from Ohio University with a M.A. in U.S. history and a B.A. in history. I also hold an A.A.S. in journalism from West Virginia University at Parkersburg. I served in the United States Navy for three years as a Cryptologic Technician (Operations).
I am a West Virginian living in the other Virginia, a Liverpool Football Club supporter, a space nerd, and a serious ice cream snob.