International Studies Program
Home Undergraduate Research Study Abroad Faculty News/Events Alumni
Faculty Affiliates


Galya Benarieh Ruffer (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, J.D., Northwestern University)
Director, International Studies Program

Professor Ruffer’s research centers on questions of citizenship and human rights with a particular focus on immigrant integration, refugees and the process of international justice. Her article “Courts Across Borders: The Implications of Judicial Agency for Human Rights and Democracy,” (co-authored with David Jacobson) published inHuman Rights Quarterly (February 2003), has since been reprinted in People Out of Place (Routledge, 2004) and Dialogues on Migration Policy (Lexington Books, 2006). Her current projects include a monograph, Citizens, that draws upon constitutional theory to offer a conceptual framework within which to understand immigrant controversies in the U.S. and Europe and research on the use of testimonies and the processes of international justice in addressing the consequences of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo through rule of law.

She is the founder of the Center for Forced Migration Studies at the Buffet Center for International and Comparative Studies at Northwestern ( and the Director of the International Studies Program. Aside from her academic work, Professor Ruffer has worked as an immigration attorney representing political asylum claimants both as a solo-practitioner and as a pro-bono attorney at the National Immigrant Justice Center. She teaches courses on citizenship, immigration and the Politics of International Human Rights and is a fellow at the Public Affairs Residential College.





Karen Alter| Martin Eichenbaum | Robert Gordon | Brian Hanson | Ian Hurd | Richard Joseph | Rajeev Kinra | Phyllis Lyons | Emily Maguire | Stephen Nelson | Wendy Pearlman | William Reno | Frank Safford | James Schwoch | Peter Slevin | Hendrik Spruyt | Christian Ukaegbu | Richard Walker | Jessica Winegar | Mark Witte

Karen Alter (Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Professor Alter specializes in the international politics of international organizations and international law, with a regional specialization in Europe and European Union politics. Alter is author of: Establishing the Supremacy of European Law: The Making of an International Rule of Law in Europe (Oxford University Press, 2001), and numerous articles and book chapters on the European Union's legal system. Alter's current research investigates how international politics is changed when international courts are created, focusing on international trade and human rights. Her most recent publications include "Resolving or Exacerbating Disputes? The WTO's New Dispute Resolution System." (International Affairs, 2003) and "Do International Courts Enhance Compliance with International Law? (Review of Asian and Pacific Studies, 2003). Professor Alter teaches courses on International Law, International Organizations, Ethics in International Relations, and the International Politics of Human Rights. Fluent in Italian, French and German, Alter has been a visiting scholar at the European Union Center, Alter has received fellowships from the DAAD, the Chateaubriand, the German Marshall Fund and the Howard Foundation. She has been a visiting scholar at the Institute d'Etudes Politiques, the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Auswartiges Politik, Harvard University's Center for European Studies, Harvard Law School, Seikei University, the Sonderforschungsbereich of Universitat Bremen, and the American Bar Foundation. Alter is on the editorial board of European Union Politics, and the executive committee of the European Union Studies Association (EUSA). A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Alter has written op-eds and given public talks about US Foreign Policy, and participated in the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on American Primacy.

Martin Eichenbaum (Ph.D., University of Minnesota). Martin Eichenbaum's research focuses on understanding aggregate economic fluctuations. He is currently studying the causes and consequences of exchange rate fluctuations, as well as the effect of monetary policy on postwar United States business cycles. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a co-editor of the American Economic Review.

Robert Gordon (Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Robert J. Gordon is Stanley G. Harris Professor in the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Northwestern University. He is one of the world’s leading experts on inflation, unemployment, and productivity growth. His recent work on the rise and fall of the New Economy, the revival and “explosion” of U. S. productivity growth, the stalling of European productivity growth, and the widening of the U. S. income distribution, have been widely cited. Gordon is author of Macroeconomics, tenth edition, which has been translated into eight languages, and of The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices, The American Business Cycle, and The Economics of New Goods. His book ofcollected essays, Productivity Growth, Inflation, and Unemployment, was published by theCambridge University Press in 2004. Gordon did his undergraduate work at Harvardand then attended Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship. He received his Ph.D. in 1967 at M.I.T. and taught at Harvard and the University of Chicago before coming toNorthwestern in 1973. He is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of EconomicResearch, a Research Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (London) andthe Observatoire Français des Conjunctures Economiques (OFCE, Paris), an economicadviser to the Congressional Budget Office and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and amember of the quadrennial Technical Panel of the Social Security Advisory Board inboth 2003 and 2006-07.

Brian Hanson(ABD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Hanson teaches courses on international development, international political economy, globalization, and the changing role of the state in world politics.  His current research is on the European trade politics and community-based approaches to global development. In addition to his work at Northwestern, Hanson is also actively involved in fields of international philanthropy, international development and foreign affairs.  He is Chair of the Board of GlobeMed, a national organization started at Northwestern, which seeks to build a new generation of leaders in global health by involving undergraduates in health projects in the developing world. He serves on the board of the Foundation for Sustainable Development, which works with indigenous, grassroots development organizations to address local issues of poverty, health, education, environmental sustainability and poverty alleviation.

Ian Hurd (Ph.D., Yale University) Professor Hurd is working on research about the relationships between states and rules, norms, and law in international politics. He is writing a book that examines how and why states use international law and norms in strategic ways. It uses historical cases to critique both the constructivist and rationalist models of international norms, and suggests that the practice of invoking norms is important for constituting both agents and structures in world politics.  His past work includes a book on legitimacy and legitimation in world politics, called After Anarchy: Legitimacy and Power at the United Nations Security Council, and several articles on the concept of legitimacy and its effects in international organizations. He has also written on international labor standards, the history of the United Nations, the laws of war and preemption, and other topics in IR. His articles have appeared in International Organization, International Politics, the Journal of Corporate Citizenship, and Global Governance, among other journals. His article on "The Strategic Use of Liberal Internationalism" in International Organization won the Robert O. Keohane prize in 2005 for the best IO article by an untenured scholar.

Richard Joseph (Ph.D., Oxford University) Professor Joseph previously taught at Emory University, Dartmouth College, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Ibadan (Nigeria), and the University of Khartoum (Sudan). He has held research fellowships at Harvard University, Boston University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Institute of Development Studies (Sussex, UK), Chr. Michelsen Institute (Norway), and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (France). Joseph has devoted his scholarly career to the study of politics and governance in Africa with a special focus on democratic transitions, state building and state collapse, and conflict resolution. He directed the African Governance Program at the Carter Center (1988-1994) and coordinated elections missions in Zambia (1991), Ghana (1992), and peace initiatives in Liberia (1991-1994). He has been a longtime member of the Council of Foreign Relations. Joseph is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards including a Rhodes Scholarship, a Kent Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2002-03, he held visiting fellowships at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the National Endowment for Democracy. He was a Fulbright Scholar in France and a Fulbright Professor in Nigeria. He has written and edited dozens of scholarly books and articles including Radical Nationalism in Cameroun (1977); Gaullist Africa: Cameroon Under Ahmadu Ahidjo (1978); Democracy and Prebendal Politics in Nigeria (1987); State, Conflict, and Democracy in Africa (1999); and the Africa Demos series (1990-94). His article, Africa's Predicament and Academe, was published as a cover story by The Chronicle of Higher Education (March 7, 2003). His post recent article, Africa: States in Crisisappeared in the July 2003 issue of the Journal of Democracy.

Rajeev K. Kinra (Ph.D., University of Chicago). Kinra specializes in South Asian intellectual history, particularly early modern Indo-Persian literary culture and political Islam under the Mughal and British Empires (16th-19th centuries). His research draws on several linguistic traditions (especially Persian, but also Hindi-Urdu and Sanskrit), using archival sources to investigate diverse modes of civility, tolerance, cosmopolitanism, and modernity across the Indo-Persian world. Many of these themes are explored in his work on the life, Persian writings, and cultural-historical milieu of the celebrated Mughal litterateur, Chandar Bhan “Brahman” (d. 1662-3), part of a book project tentatively titled Writing Self, Writing Empire: Chandar Bhan Brahman and the Cultural World of the Indo-Persian State Secretary. Kinra is on leave through Fall 2011, while this project is supported by a research fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and his research has also been supported by the Fulbright commission, the Franke Institute for the Humanities (University of Chicago), the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, the Eastern Consortium on Persian and Turkish, and the Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS). He has given lectures at conferences and other academic meetings around the world, and served in Spring 2009 as the visiting Virani Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Closer to home, Kinra has also been invited to give seminars for the Newberry Library’s teacher’s consortium, the Chicago chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, and other groups in and around the Northwestern community.

Phyllis Lyons (Ph.D., University of Chicago) Associate Professor, African and Asian Languages and Comparative Literary Studies. In the Comparative Literary Studies Program, Lyons teaches a three-quarter introduction to Japanese culture through its literature, from the eighth century to the present; and single-quarter courses on such topics as women in Japanese literature. She also teaches reading courses in Japanese at advanced levels. Lyons' area of specialization is modern Japanese fiction; she has published a study of the novelist Dazai Osamu (1909-1948), and is currently working on the novelist Tanizaki Jun'ichirù (1886-1965).

Emily Maguire(Ph.D., New York University) Emily Maguire specializes in modern Latin American literature and culture, with a focus on the Hispanic Caribbean. She is affiliated with the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program and the Latino Studies Program. Her book Racial Experiments in Cuban Literature and Ethnography (University Press of Florida, 2011) explores Cuban writers in the first half of the twentieth century forged a literary space in which to write the nation by drawing from two forms of expression, ethnography and literature, in their re-valorization of Afro-Cuban culture as the source of Cuban-ness. She has published articles on Afro-Cuban poetry, black internationalism, Cuban cyberpunk writing and contemporary Dominican literature. Her new project examines the uses of science fiction in Caribbean literature.

Stephen Nelson(Ph.D., Cornell University). Stephen Nelson's research and teaching interests span comparative and international political economy, the behavior of international organizations, and how economic agents and policy makers cope with risk and uncertainty. His PhD is from the Government Department at Cornell University, where he was the recipient of the Kahin Prize as well as several major teaching awards. He received the American Political Science Association’s Helen Dwight Reid Award for the best dissertation in the field of international relations, law, and politics in 2010. He is currently working on a book provisionally titled Creating Credibility: the International Monetary Fund and the Neoliberal Revolution in the Developing World.


Wendy Pearlman (Ph.D., Harvard University)  Wendy Pearlman is the Crown Junior Chair in Middle East Studies. She specializes in the comparative politics of the Middle East, with a particular interest in political dynamics in weak states and nonstate entities. Her past work has focused on conflict processes, social movements, and the theory and practice of nationalism. She is currently revising a book manuscript that examines nearly 100 years in the history of the Palestinian national movement as an exploration of how a self-determination movement's internal cohesion or fragmentation affects its strategy. Her new research turns to Lebanon and other Levant societies to evaluate how emigration affects patterns of politics in the countries that migrants leave behind. Wendy has studied or conducted research in Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. She has held fellowships sponsored by the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and the U.S. Institute of Peace. She is the author of "Occupied Voices: Stories of Everyday Life from the Second Intifada" (Nation Books, 2003).

William Reno (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison) Professor Reno is a specialist in African politics and the politics of state collapse and the organization and behavior of rebels and other non-state armed groups. His current research project is based in South Sudan and Somalia, where he investigates the organizational strategies of rebel groups and militias. The aim of this research is to discover how and why a few rebel groups master their fragmented social environments and manage intensive external interference in their efforts to control the behavior of members and assert distinct political programs. They achieve these organizational feats in contexts that confound most other rebels and would-be rebels.  This research is based upon field observations of these armed groups, interviews with key actors, and the collection of documentary evidence. His books include Corruption and State Politics in Sierra Leone 9Cambridge, 1995), Warlord Politics and African States (Lynne Rienner, 1998) and Warfare in Independent Africa (Cambridge, 2011).

Frank Safford (Ph.D., Columbia University) Frank Safford is an historian of Latin America, whose research in economic and political history deals with Colombia throughout its history but also spans Spanish America as a whole in the nineteenth century. Among the topics he has treated are patterns in politics, entrepreneurship and commerce, and constraints to economic development. Among his publications are: The Ideal of the Practical: Colombia's Struggle to Form a Technical Elite (Austin, 1976); Aspectos del siglo xix en Colombia (Medellín, 1977); "Politics, Ideology and Society in Post-Independence Spanish America," Cambridge History of Latin America, vol. III (1985); Agrarian Structure and Political Power: Landlord & Peasant in the Making of Latin America, with Evelyne Huber (Pittsburgh, 1995); and Colombia: Fragmented Land, Divided Society, with Marco Palacios (New York, Oxford, 2002).

James Schwoch(Ph.D., Northwestern University) James Schwoch is the Senior Associate Dean for the School of Communication at Northwestern University in Qatar, and Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University. He has published five books to date, most recently Global TV: New Media and the Cold War, 1946-69 (Illinois, 2009) and also published many articles, book chapters, encyclopedia entries, and essays. Schwoch’s next book, currently in production with Rutgers University Press, is a co-edited volume with Lisa Parks (UC-Santa Barbara) titled Down To Earth: Satellite Industries, Technologies and Cultures.His research and teaching areas include global media, media history, diplomacy and international relations, and global security. Schwoch has held fellowships and external research funding from, among others, the Fulbright Commission (Finland 2005, Germany 1997); the Ford Foundation (1996-2000); the National Science Foundation (1998-2002); and the National Endowment for the Humanities (1985, 1986) and visiting professorial appointments in Finland at the Universities of Tampere (1994), Jyvaskyla (1996), and Helsinki (1994, 2005.) During 1997-98 he was in residence at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, where he was the Leonard Marks Fellow in Global Communications Policy. He has also advised, or served as a consultant, to many government agencies, private foundations, and similar entities in the USA and abroad, including the International Telecommunications Union, the MacArthur Foundation, the Institute of Defense Analyses, the University of Ljubljana, the Royal Society of New Zealand, the University de Sorbonne, the Newberry Library, the National Defense University, Orange (France Telecom), the History Channel, Maastricht University, and the Qatar Foundation. Working on both the Doha and Evanston campuses of Northwestern University—but more often than not in Doha—Schwoch continues to participate on PhD dissertation committees and advise graduate students as relevant to his areas of research expertise.

Peter Slevin (M.Phil., Oxford University) Slevin is a veteran national and international reporter who spent a decade on The Washington Post’s national staff before coming to Northwestern in 2010. Based in Chicago starting in 2004, he produced deadline work and deeply reported stories from more than two dozen states, focusing particularly on politics and the home front of the Iraq and Afghan wars. He has written extensively about Barack Obama’s trajectory, as well as covering political campaigns and policy debates from one end of the country to the other. He pursued a particular interest in the home front of the Iraq and Afghan wars, producing pieces about soldiers and their preparations for war, their return home and the impact of war on their families, communities and public opinion. At Medill, Slevin is developing a concentration in political reporting while also working with students on foreign and military coverage. In 2012, he is leading a new undergraduate seminar titled “Politics, Media and the Republic” and a graduate class on presidential election coverage. Along the way, with an appointment as a senior lecturer in Northwestern’s International Studies program, he developed an upper-level seminar, “The United States and the Battle for Iraq” and a lecture course, “Dilemmas of American Power,” focusing on the U.S. role in the world from the Vietnam War to the Arab Spring. He is a member of the International Studies Program Advisory Committee.

Hendrik Spruyt (Ph.D., University of California, San Diego) Professor Spruyt is Norman Dwight Harris Professor of International Relations, and Director of the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies. He previously taught International Relations at Columbia University (1991-1999) and Arizona State University (1999-2003) before joining the faculty at Northwestern. He received a Doctorandus from the Law Faculty at the University of Leiden (The Netherlands) in 1983, and his Ph. D from the University of California, San Diego in 1991. He is the author of The Sovereign State and Its Competitors (Princeton University Press, 1994) which won the J. David Greenstone Prize for best book in History and Politics 1994-96. His book  Ending Empire: Contested Sovereignty and Territorial Partition (Cornell University Press 2005) was a runner up for the Greenstone Prize in 2006. He is also the author of the textbook Global Horizons (University of Toronto, 2009) with Alexander Cooley of Contracting States: Sovereign Transfers in International Relations (Princeton University Press, 2009). Spruyt has published, a.o., in the journals International Organization, The Review of Political Economy, The European Journal of Public Policy, Acta Politica, The Pacific Review, The Review of International Studies (UK), International Studies Review (US), and The Journal of Peace Research. Professor Spruyt has also contributed numerous chapters to edited volumes. He has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and has received research support from the Josephine de Karman Foundation and the Smith Richardson Foundation. Professor Spruyt is also former co-editor of the Review of International Political Economy. His research intersects comparative politics with international relations and focuses particularly on the formation of polities and their disintegration; and the rise and demise of territorial sovereignty.

Christian Ukaegbu (Ph.D., Northwestern University) Christian’s teaching experience and interests include Social Change, Race and Ethnicity, International Development, African Societies, African Diaspora, Political Economy, Comparative International Crime and Justice, Formal Organizations, Urban Sociology, Global Terrorism, Diasporas &  Diversity, Work & Occupations, Global Inequality, among others. Christian’s research focuses on economic development in Africa with Nigeria as his case country. He has researched and published in Science and technology human capital, ethnicity and politics, indigenous entrepreneurship and enterprise management, leadership, public policy and human development. He is currently working on the intersection of politics, entrepreneurship, neo-liberalism and industrial development in Nigeria and Africa. He is also conducting research on urban redevelopment in Lagos and serves as occasional guest columnist on development issues in Nigeria. Publications in the past year include:   Ukaegbu, C.C. 2011. “War and the Making of a Scientific and Technological Intelligentsia”, in A. Nwauwa & C. Korieh (eds.), Against All Odds: Igbos in Post Colonial Nigeria, Glassboro, NJ: Goldline & Jacobs.    Ukaegbu, C.C.2010 “Development Lag: Imperative of  Transformational Leadership in Sub-Saharan Africa”, in E.  Uchendu, et al (eds.), Perspectives on African Leadership,   Enugu, Nigeria: Snaap Press. He is a member of American Sociological Associatiom; African Studies Association, and Igbo Studies Association.

Richard Walker (Ph.D., London School of Economics) Professor Walker was born in Ghana, and grew up in Oman.  He is the recipient of Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Economics from the London School of Economics (LSE).  He received a Ph.D. in 2002 from the same institution, and subsequently taught at Oxford University. He was the British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the LSE Economics Department from 2003-2006, and Chief Examiner for the University of London's External Programme in Macroeconomics in 2006. Professor Walker also acted as consultant to H.M. Treasury and in the private sector.  His interests are macroeconomics and political economy.

Jessica Winegar (Ph.D., New York University) Jessica Winegar is a sociocultural anthropologist whose work investigates how people articulate understandings of history and political-economic change through cultural production and consumption, in particular through competing notions of culture and culturedness.  She is primarily concerned with the multiple ways that culture projects create social hierarchies and modern subjects while frequently hiding the mechanisms of these processes, thereby contributing to their durability. 

Mark Witte (Ph.D., Northwestern University) Mark Witte did his undergraduate studies at Washington University in his hometown of St. Louis, and got his economics MA and Ph.D. at Northwestern University.  Before graduate school he worked in the Washington office of NU alumnus former Congressman Richard Gephardt, and before joining the faculty at Northwestern he worked in the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.  At Northwestern Mark is the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Economics and the Director of the Business Institutions Program.  He primarily teaches Introduction to Macroeconomics, Public Finance, and Environmental & Natural Resource Economics.