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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Peter Harris

MA, University of Edinburgh; MSc, University of London

Visiting Lecturer in Politics, Earlham College
Peter Harris



I'm a doctoral candidate in Government; a Visiting Lecturer in Politics at Earlham College; a fellow of the Clements Center for History, Strategy, and Statecraft; a current recipient of a World Politics and Statecraft Fellowship from the Smith Richardson Foundation; and a regular blogger for The National Interest. Beginning in Fall 2015, I'll be an Assistant Professor in Political Science at Colorado State University.

You can view my personal website here.

My dissertation examines Great Power politics in the context of shifting power. When power shifts, why do states sometimes promote the ascent of potential challengers while at other times stymieing the rise of would-be rivals? I answer this question from the perspective of Great Power decision-making towards rising states, paying analytic attention to international structure, domestic politics and the agency of key groups and decision-makers. In particular, I develop the argument that established Great Powers are the "gatekeepers" of world order, wielding sizable influence over which rising states are welcomed into the Great Power club and which are held in abeyance. Evidence is drawn from a comparative historical analysis of British and U.S. responses to rising states between 1890 and 1990. The project contributes to International Relations literature on grand strategy, international order and international security and has contemporary relevance for understanding the U.S. response to (re)emerging Great Powers like Brazil, Russia, India and China.

My scholarly work has appeared or is forthcoming in African Affairs, Anthropology Today, Asian SecurityInternational Journal, International Political SociologyInternational Politics, Journal of Transatlantic Studies, Marine Policy and Review of International Studies.  In addition, my commentary and analysis has featured on the websites of think tanks and news outlets such as the British American Security Information Council, the Canadian International Council, Democratic AuditThe Diplomat, The HillopenDemocracy and The National Interest.

Find me on and follow me on Twitter @ipeterharris.


Great Power politics; International Relations theory; grand strategy; security studies; U.S. foreign policy; British politics; transatlantic relations.

GOV F312L • Issues & Policies In Amer Gov

84785 • Summer 2014
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am MEZ 1.306
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Peter Harris


No pre-requisites.


Course description

This is a course on U.S. foreign policy.  It is designed to help students think critically about how the U.S. decides upon its foreign policy objectives and how it goes about achieving them.  In addition, students will learn to consider the impacts of U.S. foreign policy.  The course is divided into three sections.  The first (introductory) section considers the issues at stake when studying U.S. foreign policy and provides a brief overview of common analytic approaches.  The second section comprises the bulk of the class material and is sub-divided into sections dealing with (A) the primary institutions governing U.S. foreign policy, (B) the principal actors who deal with foreign policy and (C) the ideas that underpin America’s role in the world.  The final section turns to evaluate the impact of U.S. foreign policy, both abroad and at home.  Class time will be divided roughly equally between lecture and discussion and so students must be prepared to do the assigned reading and share their thoughts with others.


Course goals

Students who complete this course will be able to provide their own, informed answer to the question: what (and who) determines U.S. foreign policy?  They will be able to think critically about and evaluate the actions of the United States abroad and will become educated ‘consumers’ of contemporary foreign policy.  Students will practice thinking analytically, using theories and concepts to interpret, understand and explain political phenomena.  Last, students will gain an opportunity to hone their communication skills—oral and written.



There will be two in-class exams, each worth 30 percent, and two short take-home assignments worth 15 percent each.  Details will be announced in class.  In-class participation and quizzes will account for the remaining 10 percent of students’ final grades.  Letter grades for the essays and the exams, and for the course as a whole, will correspond to the following numeric scores:

93+ = A
90-92 = A-
87-89 = B+
83-86 = B
80-82 = B-
77-79 = C+
73-76 = C
70-72 = C-
67-69 = D+
63-66 = D
60-62 = D-
59 or below = F

Without exception, we will round up scores of 0.5 and higher and round down scores of less than 0.5.



All readings will be available online.

Please note that some readings are longer in length than others and so students should be prepared to budget their time accordingly.  The success of this class depends upon students being able to competently discuss readings—and the ideas that these generate—in class.

GOV 360N • America As A Global Power

39235 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm GAR 0.102
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Six hours of lower-division Government      


Course Description  

This class examines the evolution of American statecraft since World War II, with special emphasis on the president’s role in defining the nation’s interests.  Drawing on historical and contemporary cases, we will consider how international power and domestic politics shape the president’s geopolitical priorities and how those priorities have changed over time.  The course is designed to increase your knowledge of how US foreign policy is made and why America’s leaders pursue the grand strategies they do.      


Grading Policy  

Grades based on three in-class exams.      




John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment (Oxford 2005)

David Sanger, Confront and Conceal (Simon and Schuster, 2012)

Peter Trubowitz, Politics and Strategy (Princeton 2011)


Peer-reviewed articles

2015. When States Appease: British Appeasement in the 1930s, with Peter Trubowitz. Review of International Studies 49, no. 2 (April): 289-311.

2015. Militarism in Environmental Disguise: The Greenwashing of an Overseas Military BaseInternational Political Sociology 9, no. 1 (March): 19-36.

2014. Problems with Power-Transition Theory: Beyond the Vanishing Disparities ThesisAsian Security 10, no. 3 (December): 241-259.

2014. Environmental Protection as International Security: Conserving the Pentagon's Island Bases in the Asia-PacificInternational Journal 69, no. 3 (September): 377-393. (Winner of the 2014 Marvin Gelber Essay Prize for the best article by a junior scholar in a volume of IJ).

2014. Fortress, Safe Haven or Home? The Chagos MPA in Political ContextMarine Policy 46 (May): 19-21.

2014. A Political Trilemma? International Security, Environmental Protection and Human Rights in the British Indian Ocean TerritoryInternational Politics 51, no. 1 (January): 87-100.

2013. Decolonising the Special Relationship: Diego Garcia, the Chagossians and Anglo-American RelationsReview of International Studies 39, no. 3 (July): 707-727.

2013. Dead End or Crossroads? The Chagossians Fail in Strasbourg. Anthropology Today 29, no. 3 (June): 26.

2011. Not Just a Military Base: Reframing Diego Garcia and the Chagos IslandsAfrican Affairs 110, no. 440 (July): 491-499.


2014. Getting Away With It: How Governments Sew Up Foreign Policies in Advance. e-International Relations, 13 June.

2014. The Transatlantic Divide in (Undergraduate) International RelationsJournal of Transatlantic Studies 12, no. 2 (April): 229-235.

Commentary, analysis and reviews (selected)

2015. The party (still) decidesThe Hill, 26 March.

2015. Righting a wrong: how to restore decency to the British Indian Ocean Territory., 18 February 2015.

2015. Minsk Summit on Ukraine: Great Power Politics, Local Realities. (Canadian International Council/Conseil International du Canada), 11 February.

2014. LDP hegemony and the future of Japanese foreign policyThe Diplomat, 28 December.

2014. Putting Hong Kong in historical contextThe Diplomat, 11 October.

2014. Finding a solution for Ukraine: Who’d want to be a buffer state? (Canadian International Council/Conseil International du Canada), 8 October.

2014. The geopolitics of Sino-Russian rapprochementThe Diplomat, 11 July.

2014. How will we know when China is number one? The National Interest, 29 April.

2014. Indian foreign policy: the Cold War lingers, with Andrew J. Stravers. The Diplomat, 24 March.

2014. Why the garrison state is here to stayThe National Interest, 12 March.

2014. Munich’s lessons for the Ukraine crisisThe National Interest, 5 March.

2014. The American people aren't ready for ChinaThe National Interest, 23 January.

2013. Britain’s role in the world: Beyond Europe versus America. British American Security Information Council (BASIC) blog, 25 November.

2013. A close call for international law. (Canadian International Council/Conseil International du Canada), 15 October.

2013. Book review of Marc Trachtenberg, The Cold War and After: History, Theory, and the Logic of International Politics. In: Political Studies Review 11, no. 3 (September): 419-420.

2013. Implications of the Syria vote: How Britain goes to war (or not)., 11 September.

2013. Chagos Islands: Conserving natural resources demands attention to human rightsGreen Futures Magazine, 4 September.

2013. The problem with the Chagos Islands., 25 July.

2012. Double book review of Sandra J.T.M. Evers and Marry Kooy, eds., Eviction from the Chagos Islands: Displacement and Struggle for Identity Against Two World Powers and Laura Jeffery, Chagos Islanders in Mauritius and the UK: Forced Displacement and Onward Migration. In: African Affairs 111, no. 444 (July): 503-506.

2012. Book review of Charles A. Kupchan, How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace. In: Political Studies Review 10, no. 1 (January): 113-114.

2012. Book review of Daniel Wirls, Irrational Security: The Politics of Defense from Reagan to Obama. In: Political Studies Review 10, no. 1 (January): 159-160.

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