I am an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science and
Affiliated Faculty in International Studies at Allegheny College



I am also the coordinator for the minor in Middle East and North African Studies

My first book, Trust and Fear in Civil Wars: Ending Intrastate Conflicts, demonstrates that combatants' perceptions of each other can fuel commitment problems and other fears for future security, prolonging civil wars when information suggests a deal may be especially dangerous. 

A few lines of my current research explore the effectiveness of peacekeeping, the ways that civil wars undermine health and human security, the effects of atrocities on war duration and outcomes, the role of cultural policy in civil wars, and the influence of commitment problems on strategic choices between violence and nonviolence. I am also interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning and have published on pedagogical tools useful in courses on the Middle East.

I teach courses on world politics (IR), Middle Eastern politics, international institutions, and political violence. 

I received my B.A. in International Relations from Carleton College and my Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the faculty at Allegheny, I taught at Kalamazoo College.

When I'm not at work, I'm hanging out with my family and friends. I love reading novels, especially murder mysteries, camping, traveling, cooking, knitting, and photography.

Please feel free to contact me at skirschn@allegheny.edu or 814-332-2403. Click here for a virtual office hours appointment.