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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


Steven received his PhD from Georgetown University’s Department of Government in 2012. He also holds an MA in Security Studies from Georgetown’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He conducts research, writes, and teaches in the area of international relations, especially international security. He is currently engaged in two major research projects. The first explores the relationship between status concerns and domestic politics in the context of relative decline. The second investigates the role of tripwire forces as deterrent signals. His first book – Status and the Challenge of Rising Powers (Cambridge University Press, 2017) – explains how status anxiety can push rising states to launch costly, risky challenges to the international status quo, and tests this account against the records of Wilhelmine Germany, Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, and the United States around the turn of the 20th century. His work has been published in Security StudiesInternational Studies Quarterly, the Review of International Studies, International Theory, the Journal of Global Security Studies, and International Interactions, and has been featured in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog.

Steven was previously Assistant Professor of Government and Associate Director of the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Cornell University. 


Key publications: 


Status and the Challenge of Rising Powers (Cambridge University Press, 2017)
Marketing flier

Related MonkeyCage post

Roundtable Review in H-Diplo’s International Security Studies Forum (with William Wohlforth, Anne Clunan, Xiaoyu Pu, and Kanti Bajpai)

Reviewed in Rising Powers Quarterly (by Axel Dessein)

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles:

“Status from Fighting? Reassessing the Relationship between Conflict Involvement and Diplomatic Rank” (International Interactions, 2020)

“Status, Stratified Rights, and Accommodation in International Relations” (Journal of Global Security Studies, 2020)

“Revising order or Challenging the Balance of Military Power? An Alternative Typology of Revisionist and Status-Quo States” (with Alex Cooley and Daniel Nexon) (Review of International Studies, 2019)

“Logics of Stratified Identity Management in World Politics” (International Theory, 2019)

“Lost in Translation: Social Identity Theory and the Study of Status in World Politics” (International Studies Quarterly, 2017)

“Race, Status, and Japanese Revisionism in the Early 1930s” (Security Studies, 2013)
Related MonkeyCage post

Book Reviews:

Review of Larson and Shevchenko, Quest for Status: Chinese and Russian Foreign Policy (Yale University Press, 2019) in Political Science Quarterly (Winter 2019)

Review of Pu, Rebranding China: Contested Status Signaling in the Changing Global Order (Stanford University Press, 2019) in Cambridge Review of International Affairs (Autumn 2019)

Review of Grynaviski, Constructive Illusions: Misperceiving the Origins of International Cooperation (Cornell University Press, 2014) for an H-Diplo/ISSF roundtable (March 2017)

Research in Progress (please email Steven for updated working papers):

Decline and Disintegration: Eroding Status and Civil Conflict in Post-Disaster Spain (working paper – revise and resubmit at International Security)

Tripwires and Support for Intervention: Evidence from Survey Experiments (working paper with Paul Musgrave)
Related MonkeyCage post

National Status, National Decline, and Domestic Conflict (working paper)

Status and the Politics of National Decline (book project)

Tripwires and American Foreign Policy (book project with Paul Musgrave)

Assistant Professor of International Relations
University Teaching Officer
Fellow, Pembroke College

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