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Stuart Kaufman - University of Delaware. Newark, DE, US

Stuart Kaufman

Professor, Political Science and International Relations | University of Delaware


Prof. Kaufman specializes in U.S. national security and foreign policy, Russian foreign policy, the war in Ukraine and nuclear strategy.




Stuart Kaufman Publication Stuart Kaufman Publication



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2017 UD Fulbright Lecture Series: Stuart Kaufman




Stuart Kaufman,PhD (University of Michigan, 1991) joined the Department as a Professor in 2004. He also serves annually as Professorial Lecturer at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, Austria. Professor Kaufman previously taught at the University of Kentucky and served on the US National Security Council staff. He teaches courses in international security affairs, diplomacy, US foreign policy, ethnic conflict and Russian politics. Dr. Kaufman's research focuses on the question of why large groups of people get together to kill each other, based in part on field research in Georgia, Moldova, Philippines, Russia, South Africa and Tanzania. His books include Nationalist Passions (Cornell University Press, 2015) and the co-edited volume, The Balance of Power in World History (Palgrave, 2007). Dr. Kaufman was the winner of an Excellence in Scholarship Award from the University of Delaware College of Arts and Sciences in 2017 and a Fulbright scholarship in 2011. Nationalist Passions is the winner of the Robert E. Lane Award from the Political Psychology Section of the American Political Science Association, and the International Security Studies Book Award and the ENMISA Distinguished Book Award from the International Studies Association.

Industry Expertise (1)

International Affairs

Areas of Expertise (7)

U.S. National Security

U.S. Foreign Policy

Ethnic Conflict

War in Iraq

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

International Relations

Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs

Media Appearances (5)

UD scholars discuss war in Ukraine | UDaily

University of Delaware  online


“Eastern Europeans were proved right in their fear of Russia,” he said. He also took issue with the argument that the West is hypocritical in its condemnation of Russia because the West has been violating other nations’ sovereignty for years. “The West has a right to oppose aggression now even if it was wrong on other issues in the past,” said Kaufman.

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UD scholars lead panel discussion on Ukraine | UDaily

University of Delaware  online


“We are in a new Cold War,” said Stuart Kaufman, a professor in the University of Delaware Department of Political Science and International Relations, speaking about the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Front Page Café: Mark Bowden, Dr. Stuart Kaufman and a U.S.-North Korea summit

WDDE  online


Two guests came to the Deer Park Tavern in Newark to discuss the proposed summit between North Korea and the United States, Mark Bowden and Dr. Stuart Kaufman.

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Russian spy ship spotted off Delaware coast

NBC10  tv


A Russian spy ship was spotted off the Delaware coast on Tuesday. NBC10 Delaware Bureau Reporter Tim Furlong spoke to an international security expert at the University of Delaware about the incident.

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Op-ed: Misunderstood in black and white

The News Journal  online


As we struggle to deal with the tragic deaths of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and so many others, the temptation is to oversimplify, to blame a few individuals, or else a vague and irreparable “system,” and leave it at that.

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Articles (5)

Integrative pluralism and security studies: The implications for International Relations theory

European Journal of International Security

2022 The idea of integrative pluralism offers a promising path for the development of theory in international security and international relations. Instead of either trying to shoehorn all theorising into a single, limited paradigm or giving up entirely on theoretical progress, the integrative pluralist approach calls for bringing diverse approaches together. More precisely, integrative pluralism involves explaining specific phenomena by linking causal processes across multiple layers of reality, and then using the findings to inform broader theoretical constructs such as IR theory paradigms.

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Is the US Heading for a Civil War? Scenarios for 2024-25

Studies in Conflict & Terrorism

2022 This article applies symbolic politics theory to assess the risk of a new civil war in the U.S., finding that all of the factors making civil war likely are currently present. Narratives promoting hostility toward the other party are prominent among Republicans and Democrats alike, as are hostile predispositions and hostile feelings toward the other party. The Republican Party’s rejection of Trump’s 2020 election loss and its links to the January 6 coup attempt and to militia groups position it to organize a more violent insurrection in a scenario in which Trump is again the unsuccessful presidential nominee in 2024.

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The Drug War as a Tragedy and a Crime

International Studies Review

2021 Horace Bartilow’s creative and important new book starts with a simple-seeming question: given that the United States’ war on drugs has failed, why do both Democratic and Republican presidential administrations continue to pursue it? The failure is clear, as widespread drug abuse and the attendant crime remain rampant in the United States and beyond. The reason for the failure is equally clear: the United States persists with a heavy-handed and militarized “supply-reduction” approach to addressing the problem of drug addiction rather than a more humane “demandreduction” strategy focused on drug treatment, despite repeated studies showing the latter to be the more effective approach (pp. 21–22, 28).

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War as symbolic politics

International Studies Quarterly

2019 This article uses Kaufman's symbolic politics theory of ethnic war as the basis for a broader theory integrating most existing insights about the causes of international and civil war. It starts with findings from psychology showing that people are intuitive thinkers whose decisions result less from rational calculation than from symbolic predispositions—biases such as ideology and prejudice. Studies also show that increased feelings of threat lead to increased aggressive attitudes and behavior. Symbolic politics theory explains how individual attitudes can result in collective action using mobilization theory, with social organization and framing by leaders explaining which attitudes become political action.

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Walker Connor's political psychology

Nations and Nationalism

2018 In a 2002 overview, Daniele Conversi rightly highlights ‘Nationalism as an emotional bond’ as a central theme in Walker Connor's works. Nearly half a century on from Connor's initial assertions, the discipline of psychology has made important strides in understanding the social‐psychological dynamics that influence nationalist feelings. Building on this base of psychological evidence, this essay asks two questions. First, to what degree are Connor's claims supported by or compatible with what psychologists now know? Second, to the extent that Connor's arguments are correct, to what degree have scholarly understandings of nationalist politics recognised the implications of Connor's insights?

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Education (3)

University of Michigan: PhD, Political Science 1991

University of Michigan: MA, Political Science 1985

Harvard University: AB, Government 1983

Languages (2)

  • English
  • Russian

Event Appearances (5)

“Bringing Agents Back In: Critical Realism, Constructivism and the Symbolic Politics Synthesis"

(2019) International Studies Association Conference  Toronto, CA

“Emotion, Prejudice, and the Symbolic Politics of Trump”

(2018) Presented at ISA/FLASCO Conference  Quito, Ecuador

“A Symbolic Politics Theory of International Relations”

(2017) International Studies Association Conference  Baltimore, MD

“The Symbolic Politics Theory of War”

(2016) International Studies Association Conference  Atlanta, GA

“The Symbolic Theory of Politics”

(2015) Northeast Political Science Association Conference