A.B., University of Chicago; M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Columbia University
Pendleton Hall East Rm. 233
Betty Freyhof Johnson '44 Professor of Political Science; Associate Provost for Wellesley in the World
Researching issues of international security with a specific focus on legitimacy, rising powers, and territorial conflict.
My research engages with core issues in international security, and in particular the study of the causes and conduct of war. For example, my book, Indivisible Territory and the Politics of Legitimacy: Jerusalem and Northern Ireland, asks how territory becomes indivisible: Why is it politicians appear unable to divide territory through negotiation, leading to violence and war? Currently, I am researching whether concerns about legitimacy affect states' decisions to balance power—for example, if the United States' position as the lone superpower depends on whether or not the international community sees its foreign policy as legitimate.
Along with my introductory courses to world politics and international security, I teach an advanced lecture course called Weapons, Strategy, and War, which examines how the interaction among politics, culture, and technology affects the conduct of war. I teach another seminar that explores the rise and fall of great power politics. In general, I hope to engage my students with questions of why wars occur, how wars are fought, and how war shapes, and is shaped by, political processes. Beyond these substantive interest, I'm particularly interested in promoting student research in political science. I currently act as our department's honors thesis coordinator, and have been thrilled to work with Wellesley's students on my own research, both employing them as research assistants and working with them as co-authors on projects.
Outside of Wellesley, I am a member of the Governing Council of the International Security Studies Section of the International Studies Association, the primary organizational body for international relations scholars.
When I'm not talking or writing about conflict, you can find me backpacking the western United States. Yosemite is our current favorite backpacking spot, and my husband and I are eager to introduce our baby daughter to the backcountry as soon as possible.