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Paula O'Donnell is an Ernest May Predoctoral Fellow in History and Policy with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a Ph.D. Candidate in the department of History at the University of Texas at Austin. O'Donnell also holds an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Humanities from New York University, where her thesis investigating the ideological influences of U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was awarded a Hirschhorn prize in 2017. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, O'Donnell's current research interests include anticolonial discourses, human rights, and conflict initiation during Latin America's Cold War.

O'Donnell's dissertation, "Las Malvinas son Argentinas: The Intellectual Origins of the 1982 South Atlantic Conflict," examines the Argentine military junta's justifications for war with Great Britain over the Falklands or Islas Malvinas. The project, informed by vernacular and feminist approaches to security studies, offers new insights into right wing nation-building and combat motivation through a historical lens. The dissertation sheds light on how local understandings of security, citizenship, and territorial integrity developed over time, eventually provoking war in 1982. Research in Buenos Aires was supported by the AHA Conference on Latin American History's James R. Scobie Award, a University of Texas Graduate School Continuing Fellowship, several Grants in History, Strategy, and Statecraft from the Clements Center for National Security, and a Carl J. and Tamara M. Tricoli Endowed Fellowship from the University of Texas College of Liberal Arts. Before coming to the Belfer Center, O'Donnell attended the 2021 Summer Workshop on the Analysis of Military Operations and Strategy.

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Email: podonnell@hks.harvard.edu

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