B.A., Grinnell College; M.A., Ph.D., University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill)
Betty Freyhof Johnson ’44 Professor of Political Science
I teach World Politics and Global Governance from a perspective influenced by both Africana Studies and Peace and Justice Studies and I especially welcome students from both of those fields, fields with which I’ve cooperated throughout my 40 years as part of Wellesley’s Political Science and International Relations (IR) faculty.
Throughout my career, I’ve also occasionally served as a visiting faculty member at Brown, Harvard, and the University of Massachusetts Boston, where I helped launch their doctoral program in global public policy. I also spent time as a researcher at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and the United Nations, where I directed a project that aimed to recover the history of the UN system’s work throughout the developing world, where most the of staff have always been employed.
Much of my research has involved collaborative studies of the political economy of neocolonialism, race, class, and gender. Examples include America’s Quest for Supremacy and the Third World (Pinter Publishers, 1988), written with Enrico Augelli, and “International Relations and the New Inequality,” a 2002 special issue of International Studies Review, edited with Mustapha Kamal Pasha. I am perhaps better known for a series of three studies of the origin, operation, and impact of the contemporary global governance system, which I examine from the point of view of the specific jobs undertaken by those who work for global service-providing organizations, both public and private: International Organizations and Industrial Change: Global Governance since 1850 (Oxford University Press, 1994), UNDP: A Better Way? (Cambridge University Press, 2006), and, most recently, Engineering Rules (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019), written with my wife, JoAnne Yates, MIT’s Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management. Each of these projects was done with the help of research assistants from Wellesley, many of whom found themselves looking for documents or conducting interviews in unexpected countries, and eventually working in one of the kinds of organizations that we had studied.
Other than teaching and research, my College service has mostly involved helping coordinate various departments and programs as a co-director of the International Relations and the Peace and Justice Studies Programs, chair of Political Science, or acting chair of Africana Studies. I’ve done related work for my profession by serving terms as president of the International Studies Association, the largest association of IR scholars throughout the world, and as chair of the Academic Council on the UN System. I’ve also provided more continuous service to various professional journals as board member and as a founding co-editor of Global Governance and, later, a co-editor of the Review of International Studies.
When I am not working, I collect old maps of Africa and my wife and I collect things from the early 20th century Arts and Crafts movement. Both collections are somewhat ironic: The increasingly “scientific” maps European made of Africa contained less and less information from the 16th through the 19th centuries, as slavery and colonialism advanced, while the Arts and Crafts movement was a fundamentally international movement celebrating national styles. My wife and I enjoy hiking, kayaking and other outdoor things and I enjoy cartooning. We live with two cats, Spencer and the Beeb. Our family members are bit far-flung, most in Kansas, Colorado, and neighboring states, others in Ontario and New England. We enjoy visiting all of them, and also travelling overseas, especially when it is not connected with work!