I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science and an affiliate of the Environment, Energy, Sustainability, and Health Institute at Johns Hopkins University. I have interests in the history and theory of international order, global environmental politics, science and politics, and qualitative methods. My work places international politics in a long-term historical perspective so that we can understand how and why we came to define and solve policy problems in particular ways. I seek to explain these long-run changes by developing theory that is better able to account for the dynamism, complexity, and contingency of international politics.
My first book, Scientific Cosmology and International Orders, was published in the Cambridge Studies in International Relations series at Cambridge University Press. Two papers from my second book project on the history of climate governance have been published in International Organization and International Studies Quarterly. I have also been working with Ted Hopf (National University of Singapore) and Srdjan Vucetic (University of Ottawa) to build a national identity database and relate the findings to the history and theory of international order. The first results from the project have been published in Making Identity Count: Building a National Identity Database (Oxford University Press, 2016). Our first paper relating the findings to hegemonic transition theory is available at International Organization.
Producing the Climate: Geopolitics and the Emergence of Global Climate Governance (book manuscript in preparation)
This book seeks to explain the form and content of global climate policy by examining the dynamic interaction of scientific knowledge, energy infrastructure, and geopolitics over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. The theoretical argument seeks to theorize the climate as a hybrid object of global governance. The climate object is constituted by geophysical elements, socio-technical infrastructures, and knowledge. IR theory tends to separate material and ideational factors in ways that make understanding the emergence of governance objects like the climate difficult. The theory of governance objects helps to explain the long history of climate politics while at the same time putting contemporary problems in climate policy in a new light.
Constituting the International: Governance Objects and International Change, with Olaf Corry (working paper)
This paper provides a new account of how and why the international system was constituted between the 17th and the 19th centuries. The history of the international system is often taken for granted, but the term “international” didn’t emerge until the 19th century. Before that, diplomats and elites saw their countries as part of a European society. This paper develops and applies governance object theory to explain how European states came to orient themselves toward a common “international” object. The process began with states seeking to govern a series of domestic governance objects: territory, population, and internal security. As states took up the same problems, they created transnational knowledge and practices that constituted common, international objects. That is, objects of domestic governance took on a transnational dimension in balance of power politics. We theorize how and why the domestic and transnational dual constitution of these objects laid the basis for the emergence of the international as a shared governing space. As states tried to solve the same problems in competition and in collaboration with each other across a similar socio-cultural and geophysical terrain, they created the central forces and energies of the international.
Scientific Worldviews in the Constitution of the International (working paper)
The Rise of Green Growth in Global Environmental Politics, with Jonas Meckling (ongoing project, multiple papers)
The Distribution of Identity and the Post-Second World War Order, with Srdjan Vucetic (in data collection phase)
"Paradigm and Nexus: Neoclassical Economics and the Growth Imperative in the World Bank, 1948-2000." Review of International Political Economy, forthcoming.
"The Distribution of Identity and the Future of International Order: China's Hegemonic Prospects," with Srdjan Vucetic and Ted Hopf. International Organization Vol. 72, No. 4 (Winter 2018). PDF Journal Page
Making Identity Count: Building a National Identity Database, Co-editor with Ted Hopf (Oxford University Press, 2016) Amazon
"A Method for Uncovering National Identity." In Ted Hopf and Bentley B. Allan, eds. Making It Count: Building a National Identity Database (Oxford University Press, 2016).
"What Have We Learned," with Ted Hopf. In Ted Hopf and Bentley B. Allan, eds. Making It Count: Building a National Identity Database (Oxford University Press, 2016).