Dr Jessica Gibbs

BA (Cantab) MPhil (Cantab) Ph D (Cantab)

Dr Jessica Gibbs



Department Director of PG Studies

Contact Details


In August 1994, I spent a year in Cuba as a Project Trust volunteer, beginning a close association with that country which has continued to this day. Upon my return to Britain, I took my BA in history at the University of Cambridge, graduating with a first class degree in 1998. Following a second 'gap' year in Cuba, during which I worked as a translator and editorial assistant for a Cuban political magazine and as a teacher at the International School of Havana, I began postgraduate studies examining US policy towards Cuba in the post-Cold War period under the supervision of Dr John A. Thompson. Despite a further ten-month spell in Cuba, I submitted my PhD thesis on 'The Policy of the United States towards Cuba from 1989-1996' and was examined in 2005. I lectured at the University of Reading from October 2005, before moving to Aberystwyth to take up a permanent lectureship in January 2008.



My doctoral thesis focused upon the immediate post-Cold War period, but in my book for the Routledge Studies in US Foreign Policy series I extended the chronology by a further twelve years, to cover the second Clinton administration and George W. Bush's time in office. I ended with the presidential election of 2008, in which candidate Barack Obama strongly suggested that he rejected the confrontational policies of the past. I am currently working on an article which will examine the background to Obama's decision to announce a restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba in December 2014. I am also completing a chapter on Cuban films of the 'Special Period' (roughly, from 1990) as social criticism and as sources for the study of Cuba, but my main current research project focuses on women as congressional foreign policymakers. My case studies, Representative Jeannette Rankin (R-Montana), Senator Margaret Chase Smith (R-Maine), Representative Bella Abzug (D-New York) and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, demonstrate the progressive dismantling of barriers to women's participation in Congress, and offer an unusual slant on key foreign policy debates of the 20th and 21st centuries.


'The Director as Social Critic: Guantanamera and Barrio Cuba'Gibbs, J. 2017 The Cinema of Cuba: Contemporary Film and the Legacy of the Revolution. Baron, G. & Stock, A. M. (eds.). I.B. Tauris
Madam Secretary: A Case Study in the Media Representation of Female Foreign Policy MakersGibbs, J. F. 2017 In : Passport: The Newsletter of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Review.47, 3, p. 24-285 p.
US policy towards Cuba: Since the Cold WarGibbs, J. F. 2010 Taylor & Francis. 216 p. (Routledge Studies in US Foreign Policy)
The Cuban Lobby and US policy towards CubaGibbs, J. F. 2010 The U.S. Public and American Foreign Policy. Johnstone, A. & Laville, H. (eds.). Taylor & Francis, p. 138-15215 p. (Routledge Studies in US Foreign Policy)
Conflict and Cooperation: Cuban Exile Anti-Communism and the United States, 1960-2000Gibbs, J. F. & Goodall, A. 2009 Anti-Communist Minorities in the U.S.: Political Activism of Ethnic Refugees. Zake, I. (ed.). Springer Nature, p. 233-25523 p. (Social and Cultural Studies Collection 2009)