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3 Questions: Stephen Van Evera revisits World War I

Michelle English Center for International Studies

One hundred years ago on Nov. 11, 1918, the Allied Powers and Germany signed an armistice bringing to an end World War I. That bloody conflict decimated Europe and destroyed three major empires (Austrian, Russian, and Ottoman). Its aftershocks still echo in our own times.

A bottom-up view of the state

Leda Zimmerman MIT Department of Political Science endless wait in a crowded room. The official's impassive expression handling a client in need...
Bernardo Zacka '05, a newly appointed assistant professor of political science, is well acquainted with exasperating and sometimes infuriating public service bureaucracies.

Alumni Books Podcast: Claiming the State

Joe McGonegal Slice of MIT

Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner MCP '06, PhD '13, assistant professor of politics and global studies at the University of Virginia, is the author of Claiming the State: Active Citizenship and Social Welfare in Rural India, published in August 2018 by Cambridge University Press. In the book, Kruks-Wisner shares research conducted over the past decade in Rajasthan, India about how those in conditions of poverty make claims on their local and state governments.

Refining the “science” of political science

Peter Dizikes MIT News

Political pundits are usually confident about their ability to identify why citizens think the way they do. Look at cable television or the internet, and you’ll find someone attributing an election result to economic anxiety, or claiming the latest polling numbers reflect a recent news story. Teppei Yamamoto has his doubts.

The aftermath of violence

Leda Zimmerman

Although Volha Charnysh initially distanced herself from her native land of Belarus, she has in recent years found reason to return to her Eastern European roots.

Tracking political interactions in the Philippines

Leda Zimmerman MIT Department of Political Science

Since starting her doctoral studies in 2013, Nina McMurry has logged more than two years of field work in the Philippines. It has sometimes been a slog—literally. "Some of the places we need to travel for data collection are pretty remote," she says. "This past summer, it was a particularly bad rainy season, and even when the boats were running from the mainland to our destination, it could take two or more hours for our survey teams to climb into the mountains, where roads were entirely flooded out."

3 Questions: Database shines a bright light on Washington lobbying

Peter Dizikes MIT News

Follow the money. It’s a famous phrase from the Watergate era, but it applies to everyday life in modern Washington as well. That advice just got easier for everyone to carry out, thanks to the launch of, a new public database created by MIT political scientist In Song Kim

A passion for policy

Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT

While still an undergraduate at MIT, Luisa Kenausis ’17, co-founded MIT Students for Nuclear Arms Control. The organization’s goal: to raise awareness of nuclear arms control issues. As a Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation this spring, Kenausis continued her work to raise public awareness of these issues.

Environmental regulation in a polarized culture

Fatima Husain MIT News

With an affinity for environmental issues and a knack for analysis, MIT doctoral student Parrish Bergquist aims to clarify the ways in which changing political landscapes influence environmental policy outcomes.

3Q: Barry Posen on the NATO Summit and state of the alliance

Michelle English MIT News/Center for International Studies

Barry Posen, a leading national security expert and Cold War historian, offers in-depth scholarship on the historic meetings. Posen, a Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of the MIT Security Studies Program,  discusses the role of NATO today, and whether the alliance is “stronger than ever,” as President Trump stated in a post-summit press conference.

Solidarity and separatism

Leda Zimmerman

Doctoral student Elissa Berwick listens closely to the calls for independence rising from regions around the world.

Research on Religion Podcast: Richard Nielsen on Deadly Clerics

Research on Religion

Political rebellion and violence in the Middle East has recently been associated with religious belief and rhetoric, often spurred on by the writings and recordings of Muslim clerics. What motivates imams to advocate such tactics? Prof. Richard Nielsen, an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, answers this question with reference to previous theories of revolution and an examination of the career paths of imams who advocate violent jihad. 

3 Questions: Vipin Narang on the North Korea summits

Michelle English Center for International Studies

An historic April 27 summit between Moon Jae-in, president of South Korea, and Kim Jong-un, supreme leader of North Korea, has been lauded as a path to peace for the divided peninsula as well as a tipping point of the North Korean nuclear crisis. But what concrete actions should we expect from the meeting between Kim and Moon? And how will this affect the forthcoming summit between President Trump and Kim? MIT nuclear strategy expert Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science and a member its Security Studies Program, weighs-in with his observations, underscoring that rhetoric is key.

People Power

Peter Dizikes MIT News

In politics, your voices make a difference. At least at the state level of U.S. politics, that is. A new study co-authored by an MIT political scientist shows that state policies in the U.S. from 1936 through 2014 have been responsive to public opinion — and have become even more aligned with it in recent decades.

Richard Nielsen on Deadly Clerics

The Baylor Institute for Studies on Religion

Political rebellion and violence in the Middle East has recently been associated with religious belief and rhetoric, often spurred on by the writings and recordings of Muslim clerics.  What motivates imams to advocate such tactics? 

Work of the future and the future of work for women in political science

Leda Zimmerman MIT Political Science

After a 30-year career focused on the economic institutions of wealthy democracies, Kathleen Thelen, Ford Professor of Political Science, has recently begun carving out time from her globe-hopping schedule to pursue compelling opportunities closer to home.


War on the Rocks

Why are so many people at odds over low-yield nuclear weapons? Listen to this fierce debate between Frank Miller – a long-suffering veteran of the Pentagon and nuclear strategy, Dr. Olga Oliker of CSIS and a longtime observer and scholar of Russian nuclear and military doctrine, and Vipin Narang – a professor at MIT and, most importantly, a War on the Rocks senior editor. Co-hosts Ryan Evans and Usha Sahay did their best to moderate this high-yield debate about low-yield nukes. Get ready for the fallout.

Vote of Confidence

Kara Baskin Spectrum

The MIT Election Data and Science Lab (MEDSL), launched in January 2017, champions the efficiency, integrity, and transparency of the democratic process

Sizing up the North Korea Showdown

Peter Dizikes MIT Technology Review

Are North Korea’s recent missile tests—and President Trump’s outspoken response to Kim Jong Un—moving us closer to war? For insight, MIT Technology Review spoke with Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science, author of Nuclear Strategy in the Modern Era, and a leading analyst of the nuclear tactics of smaller states.