I am a Professor of Political Science. I teach courses on international relations, national security policy, and South Asian politics and international affairs. I am the author of The Consequences of Nuclear Proliferation: Lessons from South Asia (MIT Press, 1998) and co-author (with Sumit Ganguly) of Fearful Symmetry: India-Pakistan Crises in the Shadow of Nuclear Weapons (University of Washington Press, 2005). I also edited South Asia in World Politics (Rowman and Littlefield, 2005). I have published in International Security, Security Studies, Current History, Asian Survey, Nonproliferation Review, the Australian Journal of International Affairs, and other scholarly journals. I co-edit the journal Asian Security. I was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A.L.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a B.A. from Rutgers University.
Q: What led you to become a political scientist?
A: I have always been a politics and international relations junkie. I grew up in a Foreign Service family, living in India, Norway, the United Kingdom, and Pakistan, before returning to the United States for college. After finishing my B.A. and M.A., I worked on Capitol Hill for several years and also worked on two congressional campaigns. Along the way, I discovered that I like analyzing politics a lot more than I like being in the middle of it. After beginning a Ph.D. in Political Science in my late 20s, I discovered that I love teaching, and the rest is history.
Q: What kinds of research questions are most interesting to you?
A: My favorite research questions concern war and peace. When and why do states use military force to pursue their interests? Why do decisions for war often seem unwise in retrospect? How have nuclear weapons revolutionized warfare, how have they deterred military conflicts between their possessors, and how might deterrence fail?
Q: What ideas, skills, or experiences do you hope students will come away with after having taken a class with you?
A: My hope is that students who do well in my classes will have become more discerning consumers of information, more ambitious, disciplined readers, more rigorous critical thinkers, and better writers. Ideally, they will have mastered not only the substantive course content, but also the craft of concise, analytical, persuasive writing.
Q: What can POLI majors do with their degrees?
A: A degree in Political Science can be a gateway to any number of careers, including but not limited to consulting, government, the intelligence community, journalism, the law, the military, politics, research and analysis, and teaching. Having said that, many of our graduates are pursuing careers in areas not mentioned above. Most, if not all, human activities are political; the close study of power and institutions is good preparation for most careers.