Conference: New-Wave Realism

Realism as a theoretical perspective has dominated the study of international relations for centuries. From the sophists and Thucydides, to Machiavelli and Hobbes, E. H. Carr and Hans Morgenthau, to Kenneth Waltz, Robert Jervis, and John Mearsheimer, realist thinkers have offered lucid and timely analysis of what makes the clock tick in international politics.  After the Cold War, many non-realists in the field were gleefully proclaiming the death of realism, arguing that it was finished as a useful perspective for understanding world politics. Today, realism is making a comeback. With the rise of China, the return of Russia as a geopolitical player, the ascendance of Trump, populism, autocracy, inequality, economic nationalism, and geoeconomics, and the retreat of democracy and liberalism symptomatic of the decline of the United States and its liberal rule-based international order, the world appears to be moving in directions consistent with traditional realist propositions and expectations. It is a time when the United States, like other major powers, must reevaluate its foreign commitments, rethink its military capabilities, and undertake major reforms to compete on the world stage. The primary aim of this conference is to help foster a community of young realist scholars, who are exploring these new global and national developments by adopting, modifying, restating, and renewing realist theories and concepts.


Conference Schedule


9-9:15 a.m. Breakfast (coffee, pastries)

9:15-9:30 a.m. Randall Schweller, Opening Remarks

9:30-10:45 a.m. Benjamin Denison, “Regime Change Anxieties: American Hegemony and the Regime Change Security Dilemma”

Discussant: Alex Thompson

10:45 a.m.-12 p.m. Eliza Gheorghe, “Nuclear Alliances: Strategies of Extended Nuclear Deterrence and the Pursuit of Hegemony”

Discussant: Jennifer Mitzen

12-1 p.m. Lunch

1-2:15 p.m. Brian Blankenship, “Promises under Pressure: Reassurance in Asymmetric Alliances”

Discussant: Randall Schweller

2:15-3:30 p.m. Mariya Grinberg, “Planning For the Short Haul: Explaining Wartime Trade between Enemies”

Discussant: Alex Wendt

3:30-3:45 p.m. Coffee break

3:45-5 p.m. Joshua Byun, “Architectures of Power and Counterhegemonic Coalition-building: Rethinking Franco-German Security Cooperation, 1945-1965”

Discussant: Bear Braumoeller


8:30 a.m. Breakfast (coffee, pastries)

9-10:15 a.m. Lindsey O’Rourke, “Picking Your Friends; Foreign-Imposed Regime Change and the Quality of Interstate Relations”

Discussant: Chris Gelpi

10:15-10:30 a.m. Coffee break

10:30-11:45 a.m. Erik Wisniewski, “Reform and Revision in the International System”

Discussant: Andrew Goodhart

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Lunch

12:45-2 p.m. Costantino Pischedda, “Window Theory of Inter-rebel War

Discussant: Daniel Verdier

 2-2:15 p.m. Randall Schweller, Concluding Remarks



Brian Blankenship (University of Miami)

Joshua Byun (University of Chicago)

Benjamin Denison (University of Notre Dame)

Eliza Gheorghe (Bilkent University, Turkey)

Mariya Grinberg (University of Chicago)

Lindsey O’Rourke (Boston College)

Costantino Pischedda (University of Miami)

Erik Wisniewski (The Ohio State University)