Research Projects

My primary research agenda is in international norm dynamics and the legitimacy of war.  Other research interests include change in international norms and institutions, and the role of argumentation in policy legitimation.  I am also interested in research design and methodology, in particular how we should conceive of and whether we can establish motives, intentions, or reasons for action in international relations.

My book project asks why states refuse to recognize the spoils of war.  I conducted archival research into US and UK decision-makers’ reasoning behind their policy towards the validity of the results of the use of force in four cases; the Japanese conquest of Manchuria in 1931-33, the Italian conquest of Ethiopia in 1935, the Indian invasion of East Pakistan in 1971, and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. The cases reveal that nonrecognition was aimed at maintaining the rule against aggression by re-establishing the joint commitment of all states to the rule. I elucidate a model of rule-maintenance that combines insights from rationalist scholarship on common knowledge and coordination games with constructivist ideas about norm dynamics.

Nonrecognition of the Spoils of War
Op-ed on the nonrecognition of Russia's annexation of Crimea, in The Hill, "Lost in Limbo"

Reasons and Motives 
2015. "Why Did They Do That?: The Methodology of Reasons for Action", International Theory, 7(2): 231-262.

2014. "External Kin, Economic Disparity, and Minority Ethnic Group Mobilization," Conflict Management & Peace Science, 31(1): 49-69. (with Enze Han and Christopher Paik)
2014. "British Colonialism and the Criminalization of Homosexuality," Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 27(2): 268-288. (With Enze Han)
A summary of this paper appeared in the Washington Post Monkey Cage blog. and on the CRIA blog.
2010. "The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: The View From Graduate School," Qualitative & Multi-Method Research, 8 (Spring), (with David E. Banks).