Brendon George

Advisor: Susan L. Johnson

Brendon George


My work explores the connections between city building and empire building in the U.S. West, especially during the Cold War. Drawing from social and cultural, political, and economic history, as well as geographies of capitalism, I explore the various ways in which western city dwellers actively collaborated with and worked for the federal government. Through doing so they protected and expanded a U.S.-led global capitalism in the twentieth century.

My dissertation places metropolitan Denver at the center of U.S. empire building in the latter half of the twentieth century. Although far removed from institutions of political and financial power, Denver experienced a period of economic growth funded by the federal government. This development was directly tied to the extension and defense of a U.S. imperialism predicated on global capitalism. The solidification of this empire hinged on the federal government enlisting U.S. Americans in the construction of the structures necessary for the empire’s existence. Residents of Denver labored for both private corporations and the federal government to further this project, becoming imperial subjects who produced and reproduced capitalist relations, and, by extension, the U.S. empire. Denverites’ story of contributing to the expansion and strengthening of the central U.S. state for their own wellbeing unseats localism as the primary lens through which to view western politics in the twentieth century.


M.A., University of Manchester
B.A., Texas Lutheran University


  • United States History

MA Title

  • “‘First the Book, Now the Film?’: The Reception of Friday Night Lights in Odessa, Texas, 1990-2004.”

Working Dissertation Title

  • “Mile High Metropole: Denver and the U.S. Empire”

Selected Publications

  • “‘Producing the Highest Standard of Manhood’: City Beautiful and Masculinity in Progressive Era Denver, 1893–1920,” U.S. Studies Online: The British Association of American Studies Postgrad Journal 13 (Autumn 2008).

Professional Affiliations

  • American Historical Association
  • Organization of American Historians
  • Western History Association

Selected Awards

  • Dissertation Fellowship, Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Fall 2014
  • Summer Award for Upper Division and Graduate Students, Charles Redd Center, Brigham Young University, Summer 2014

Courses Taught as TA

  • History 102 – U.S. History, Civil War to Present, Fall 2012
  • History 461 – The American West to 1850, Fall 2013, Fall 2011, Fall 2010
  • History 462 – The American West since 1850, Spring 2014, Spring 2010