Stacie Goddard

Betty Freyhof Johnson '44 Professor of Political Science and Associate Provost, Wellesley in the World

Researching issues of international security with a specific focus on legitimacy, rising powers, and territorial conflict.  

I am the Betty Freyhof Johnson ‘44 Professor of Political Science and Associate Provost for
Wellesley in the World. My research and teaching focuses on questions of great power competition
and international order. My latest book, When Right Makes Might: Rising Powers and World Order was
published by Cornell University Press in 2018. Here I examine how a rising power’s legitimation
strategy affects whether a great power confronts or accommodates a potential challenger. If a rising
power can portray its ambitions as legitimate, it can make the case that, far from being a
revolutionary power, its advances will only preserve, and perhaps even protect, the prevailing status
quo, then great power accommodation is likely. In contrast, if a rising power’s claims are
illegitimate—if they are inconsistent with prevailing rules and norms—then great powers will see its
actions as threatening, making containment and confrontation likely.

At Wellesley, I teach a number of courses rooted in this research, including a seminar on great power
competition, a course on “dangerous ideas” and international order, and a course on nuclear politics.
I also enjoy writing for public outlets, and my work has appeared in Foreign Affairs, the New York
Times and the Washington Post.

Outside of Wellesley, I’m an avid fan of hiking, choral singing, all things golden retriever, and
“adventuring” with my family.


  • A.B., University of Chicago
  • M.A., Columbia University
  • M.Phil., Columbia University
  • Ph.D., Columbia University

Current and upcoming courses

  • An introduction to the international system with emphasis on contemporary theory and practice. Analysis of the bases of power and influence, the sources of tension and conflict, and the modes of accommodation and conflict resolution. This course serves as an introduction to the international relations subfield in the political science department, and also as a means of fulfilling the political science core requirement of the international relations major.