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Patrick Jackson

Theory Wonk


Cred PhD, MPhil, MA political science, Columbia University; BA international relations, James Madison College, Michigan State University

Livelihood International relations professor, School of International Service; director, General Education, case study assignment writer

Interests Philosophy of knowledge, identity and legitimacy, science fiction as a vehicle for envisioning alternative worlds, superhighways and subjectivity

Focus His latest book, The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: Philosophy of Science and Its Implications for the Study of World Politics, explores the ways in which international relations scholars establish the authority and validity of their empirical claims.

Recent Awards School of International Service William Cromwell Award for Outstanding Teaching, 2006; American University Center for Teaching Excellence Teaching with Technology Award, 2006

Last Book You Read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion and Neal Stephenson’s Anathem—“an extraordinary account of the politics of knowledge and a great sci fi novel”

What Keeps You Up At Night? “Hyper-specialization. It bothers me that there are so many social pressures for students to decide at an ever-younger age exactly what they’re going to do for the rest of their lives. We know people are going to change jobs; we need to give students broad preparation.”

Are You a Wonk? A self-professed philosophy, social theory, and science fiction wonk, he’s also passionate about undergraduate education. “Part of educating undergrads is exposing them to different kinds of wonks so they can wrestle with the different perspectives they bring. You don’t need to be a wonk yourself, but you can always learn from them.”

Additional Links
AU Profile
Podcast blog
International politics blog