Gibson and Shaw: Politics as Unusual

Nadine Ginbson and Daron Shaw and I published an article in Social Science Quarterly, “Politics as Unusual? Exploring Issues and the 2016 Presidential Vote” (

Conclusion: Relative to other Republican presidential candidates, Trump was more effective in tapping into anti‐political feelings prior to the Republican Convention. By the general election, issue perceptions of Trump were similar to those we see for most Republican presidential candidates. Feelings toward third‐party candidates, however, were more strongly structured by an anti‐politics dimension.

Joe Tafoya: Recent Publications

Joe Tafoya has two recent publications:

“I feel like I was born here: Social identity, political socialization, and deAmericanization,” in Latino Studies;

“Partisan Learning or Racial Learning: Opinion Change on Sanctuary City Policy Preferences in California and Texas,” in The Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics.

Charles Zug: “The Republican Theories of Rousseau and the American Anti-Federalists”

Abstract: For almost four decades preceding the 1787-88 ratification debates—during which American Federalists drew severe criticism from the Anti-Federalists—Enlightenment politics in Europe had been undergoing equally severe criticism from Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Though largely unaware of each other, both of these critics advanced distinctive republican theories based on civic virtue and individual liberty. Rousseau argued for a republic which would require the near-total alienation of retained natural rights, abstention from bourgeois commerce, and complete conformity to the general will. The Anti-Federalists, by contrast, envisioned a republic based on retained natural rights, one that would reconcile the communitarian spirit of antiquity with the commercial values and individual rights of modernity. By comparing and contrasting the most salient features of these contending visions, whose theoretical trajectories are—I argue—crucially opposed, we can glimpse the inherent conflicting requisites of republican government and therewith some of the enduring dilemmas of republican theory.

“The Republican Theories of Rousseau and the American Anti-Federalists,” has been accepted for publication at the Australian Journal of Politics and History.

Charles Zug: 2 new publications

“The Rhetorical Presidency Made Flesh: A Political Science Classic in the Age of Donald Trump,” has been accepted at Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society and will be published in volume 30, issues 3-4 (double issue) of that journal.

Also, “Demagoguery as Pathology: Interpreting European Politics Today,” has been accepted at Perspectives on Political Science.

Christina Bambrick: Horizontal Rights

Crhistina Bambrick’s article, “Horizontal Rights: A Republican Vein in Liberal Constitutionalism,” is forthcoming in Polity.

Abstract: While liberal constitutional theory typically understands constitutions as establishing vertical arrangements in which governments protect individual rights, some courts have introduced doctrines of horizontal effect, holding private bodies responsible for the rights of others, as well. This article argues that we can understand such horizontal rights as a republican vein in the tradition of liberal constitutionalism. While the conventional liberal narrative emphasizes the rights of individuals, horizontal effect builds a catalogue of individual duties as well, corresponding to the commitments and aspirations of a given constitutional order. This article draws on classical and contemporary republican political theory, as well as cases from Germany, India, and South Africa, to demonstrate how the structure of and arguments for horizontal rights reflect proclivities and track commitments associated with republicanism. Though the fact of a republican streak in these rights need not make them antithetical to existing understandings of constitutionalism, it does admit the distinctive potential of horizontal rights to alter elements of the conventional narratives, about the nature, purpose, and limits of constitutionalism.

Christina Bambrick Publication in Publius: The Journal of Federalism

“Neither Precisely National nor Precisely Federal”: Governmental and Administrative Authority in Tocqueville’s Democracy in America


Tocqueville’s insights on local politics in Democracy in America have led some scholars to ask where he fits into longstanding debates about the balance of power between the national government and state governments in American constitutionalism. Although Tocqueville’s observations speak to these questions, he also transcends them by developing the concepts of governmental and administrative (de)centralization. In differentiating governmental and administrative capacities, Tocqueville offers language by which to understand and evaluate the federal system in terms of the nature of the authority each level of government exercises, rather than simply by the objects of national, state, and municipal powers. The purpose of this article is to clarify Tocqueville’s understanding of governmental and administrative (de)centralization and thereby contribute to a better understanding of political authority in the American federal system.


Charles Zug: Can Political Science Become Diagnostic? Restoring a Forgotten Method

Charles Zug’s article “Can Political Science Become Diagnostic? Restoring a Forgotten Method” has been accepted for publication in Perspectives on Political Science.

Abstract: Political philosophers and their commentators frequently analogize human bodies and bodies politic, evaluating individual cities and empires in terms of health and sickness much the way a doctor would evaluate a patient. Today, however, the field of political science has all but renounced the task of which its ancient counterpart held itself worthy. Accordingly, many scholars have explained why political science, once prescriptive, gradually turned descriptive, concentrating above all on the turn to “value-free” social science. By contrast, the following paper examines the possibility of, and tries to sketch out, a diagnostic approach to politics, one that would restore to the study of politics its pre “value free” practical task: advising particular regimes on the basis of their particular political needs.

Calla Hummel: State Intervention in Collective Action

Calla Hummel’s “Disobedient Markets: Street Vendors, Enforcement, and State Intervention in Collective Action,” is forthcoming in Comparative Political Studies.

Abstract: At 50% of the global workforce, informal workers constitute a large, diffuse, and resource-poor group with high barriers to collective action. Contrary to scholars’ expectations, informal workers organize to varying degrees in most countries, and states often encourage them to do so. Why do some informal workers organize while others do not? I argue that states can intervene in informal workers’ collective action decisions: As enforcement costs increase, states may pay informal workers to organize, and then bargain with the resulting organization over self-regulation. I present a game theoretic model of state intervention in collective action and illustrate it with original ethnographic, survey, and interview evidence from street markets in La Paz, Bolivia. I suggest that informal workers interact strategically with states and conclude with implications for formalization policies.

Anthony Ives: Article Accepted at JOP

Anthony Ives’ article has been accepted for publication at Journal of Politics.

Title: Frederick Douglass’s Reform Textualism: An Alternative Jurisprudence Consistent with the Fundamental Purpose of Law

Abstract: Frederick Douglass famously argued that the Constitution was “a glorious liberty document.” More than this, Douglass denied that the document possessed even one proslavery provision. Most contemporary scholars, although arriving at this conclusion from quite varied premises, have suggested that such a position advocates an overly naïve approach to the text. Responding to these critics, I demonstrate that Douglass’s jurisprudence, which I classify as “reform textualism,” is both legally plausible and normatively attractive.  This is because Douglass succeeds in grounding his constitutional interpretation in both the text of the Constitution and a defensible philosophy of law.  By taking the words of the Preamble seriously and generating a compelling account of the purpose and nature of law, Frederick Douglass presents a textually-grounded, “moral reading” of the Constitution, without recourse to either originalism or the concept of the living constitution.

Kristie Kelly: Election Law Journal

Kristie Kelly has published an article in Election Law Journal

Title: Political Quid Pro Quo and the Impact of Perceptions of Corruption on Democratic Behavior

Abstract: Since its 1976 ruling in Buckley v. Valeo, the U.S. Supreme Court has voiced concern with corruption and the appearance of corruption stemming from political quid pro quo arrangements—particularly the deleterious consequences either could have on citizens’ democratic behavior. Given the vagueness in the Court’s definition of the “appearance of corruption,” campaign finance cases since Buckley have relied on survey data to measure perceptions of corruption. These data indicate high levels of perceived governmental corruption among the public but are silent on the question of whether these perceptions influence behavior. This study investigates the actual impact that perceptions of corruption have on individuals’ levels of political participation. Adapting the socioeconomic status model developed most fully by Verba and Nie (1972), I estimate extended beta-binomial regressions using maximum likelihood techniques on data from the 2009 University of Texas Money in Politics survey and the 2012 American National Election Studies Time Series survey. The results indicate that individuals who perceive higher levels of corruption participate more in politics, on average, than those who perceive lower levels of corruption. This suggests that at least a few of the assumptions underlying the Court’s rationale for upholding contribution limits in Buckley should be revisited, and that the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission may not negatively impact participation as suggested by critics.

Clare Brock: Framing Child Nutrition

Clare Brock published an article in Social Science Quarterly.

Title: Framing Child Nutrition Programs: The Impact of Party and District Characteristics on Elite Framing

Abstract: The objective of this article is to determine whether district characteristics impact the framing choices made by members of Congress. Certain frameworks may be more effective for creating policy change, and given that framing shapes the way humans conceptualize a problem space, framing should be a deliberate tool used in order to constrain the debate around certain problems. However, the actual details of debate shifts and issue framing often become a “black box” in theories of policy change. The study uses content analysis of floor statements made over a 16-year period regarding the National School Lunch Program, the results of which are analyzed using a multinomial logistic regression. The results indicate that policy framing is highly dependent on district characteristics, but that language use itself does not appear to have changed significantly in the time period studied. The evidence presented here indicates that legislators are, at least through floor statements, engaging in delegate representation of their district interests.

Legislative Error and the “Politics of Haste”

Jonathan Lewallen has published an article in PS: Political Science & Politics.

Title: Legislative Error and the “Politics of Haste”

Abstract: Legislative error is an important and understudied element of the policy process. Even simple clerical mistakes—if unnoticed before enactment—can lead to ambiguity about a law’s meaning, spark political battles concerning rulemaking and implementation, and involve the courts in statutory interpretation. Understanding how and why error occurs can help us better understand how political institutions are intertwined in the design, enactment, and implementation of public policy. This article analyzes the sources of legislative error using data on corrected legislation in the US Senate from 1981 to 2012. The author finds that Senate drafting error is related to unified control of Congress and new majority parties, inexperienced committee members, and committee workload. In addition to bringing in different perspectives and preferences, elections can affect a legislature’s ability to draft clear, error-free statutes.

Campaign shocks and party support: evidence from Brazil’s 2014 presidential election

Brendan Apfeld and Alex Branham have published an article in the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties.

Title: Campaign shocks and party support: evidence from Brazil’s 2014 presidential election
Abstract: This article investigates the effect of exogenous shocks during an election cycle on electoral outcomes. Specifically, we examine the impact of the unexpected death of a prominent candidate, Eduardo Campos, in the 2014 Brazilian presidential election on support levels for the three main parties. Did the effects die out relatively quickly, providing only a temporary “bounce” or dip in support levels? Or did they alter the fundamentals of the campaign environment and produce a lasting change or “bump” in support levels that lasted until the election? Our results show that while the shock did have short-term effects on all parties’ support, it was only the party that lost its leading candidate where any longer lasting shift in support is detected; we estimate that the party received around 11 percentage points more support than they would otherwise have garnered, had Campos not died. While this was not enough to secure victory, it shows that individual candidates should be understood as a “fundamental” feature of the campaign environment, any change in which is likely to have a lasting effect on voter behavior.

Lewis Fallis: Xenophon Article in APSR

Lewis Fallis has published an article in the American Political Science Review.

Title: Six Portraits of Political Ambition in Xenophon’s Memorabilia

Abstract: In this article I claim that the Greek philosopher Xenophon, in the third book of his Memorabilia, catalogues six—and perhaps the six—essential and enduring forms of human ambition. Most treatments of ambition depict the phenomenon as monolithic; or, at best, as dichotomous. That is, ambition is understood as a single trait or passion shared by all ambitious people, its manifestations differing only according to circumstance; or, alternatively, as a trait or passion with one good (or high) form and one bad (or base) form. Little attention is paid to an enterprise of cataloguing various types of human beings as embodying distinct forms of ambition, forms which a political community must tolerate or encourage, channel or confront, in different ways. This enterprise is best carried out through the dialectical approach, in which the personality of a particular interlocutor emerges in light of, and in response to, Socratic scrutiny.

Multilateral War Bargaining

Colin Krainin: “Multilateral War Bagaining.”  Quaterly Journal of Political Science (9, 4: 407-39).

Abstract: I build a static, complete information, three-player bargaining model of war. Without dynamics or incomplete information, war is always avoided. However, the threat of war determines the nature of alliances. The model uses a notion of cooperative stability to predict balancing and bandwagoning behavior in alliance formation. Given the assumptions of the model, a stable state always exists. Stronger allies increase the potential for war threats against a non-allied player. However, stronger allies also demand larger shares of an alliance’s total payoff. Balancing (bandwagoning) alliances form when the within alliance utility of a player is uniformly decreasing (increasing) in the resources of an alliance partner.

Colin Krainin received his Ph.D. in Economics, but Government professors Pat McDonald and Terry Chapman served on his dissertation committee and helped him land his current post-doc at the University of Mannheim.

Ashley Moran: Climate Change, Security, Africa

Ashley Moran’s new paper, “Climate Change and Security in Africa: Clear Risks, Nuanced Impacts,” written with Yacob Mulugetta and Clionadh Raleigh, highlights an array of vulnerabilities climate change creates for African countries, and particularly that climate change may trigger or accelerate conflict.

Violence is also more likely in excessively wet and excessively dry climates, and these conditions affect the kinds of violence governments will be faced with, as dry periods are associated with rebel forces and wetter periods associated with communal militias.

The paper makes policy recommendations and identifies future research needs.

You can read the Strauss Center Post and the paper.

Peter Harris: Asian Security Article

A new article by Peter Harris is forthcoming in Asian Security: “Problems with Power-Transition Theory: Beyond the Vanishing Disparities Thesis.”

Abstract: What happens when established states and rising powers meet on the world stage? Is conflict inevitable, or can adroit foreign policies produce peaceful accommodation between jostling Great Powers? Traditional power-transition theory tends to predict conflictual outcomes of shifting power, but this finding does not square with either the historical record or public policy-maker’s own intuitions about how international politics works. In this article, I exegete a central weakness of extant power-transition theory—that is, its reliance on vanishing disparities in national power as an explanatory factor—in order to understand where the theory is failing and how best to proceed with a view to generating greater understanding of geopolitical shifts. Beginning from the starting point that social science theory should generate useful implications for ‘real world’ social and political actors, I argue that power-transition theory’s monocausal vanishing disparities thesis is problematic in three respects: practical, theoretical and empirical.

Katherine Bersch: Comparative Politics Article

Katherine Bersch’s article, “The Merits of Puzzle-Solving over Powering: Governance Reform in Brazil and Argentina,” is forthcoming in Comparative Politics.

Abstract: Scholars of governance reforms in developing countries often argue that the surest way to address corruption, cronyism, inefficiency, and red tape is swift, dramatic change enacted by political leaders during moments of upheaval (i.e., “powering” reforms). This research finds that a very different type of change is not only possible but also more effective and enduring. A comparison of attempts to increase accountability, transparency, and institutional strength in Brazil and Argentina demonstrates that incremental changes sequenced over time in response to failings in previous policy (i.e., “puzzle-solving” reforms) provide two crucial advantages over powering’s wholesale and rapid overhauls of the state: (1) continual adjustments and modifications benefit from learning; and (2) an incremental approach makes reform more durable and helps preserve bureaucratic autonomy.

JJ Kinkel Publication and Award

Jonathan Kinkel’s paper, “Judicial Autonomy and Economic Development in Urban China: How Markets for Legal Services Create Pressure for Merit-Based Judicial Designs,” will be published in a 2015 issue of Law & Social Inquiry. The publication is tied to Kinkel being announced as the 2014 winner of the American Bar Foundation’s Graduate Student Paper Competition, widely regarded as the top graduate student prize in the Law and Society field.

Recent Archive of Graduate Student Publications

Bersch, Katherine and Sandra Botero. 2014. “Measuring Governance: Implications of Conceptual Choices.” European Journal of Development Research 26(1): 124–41.

Bersch, Katherine and Greg Michener. 2013. “Identifying Transparency.” Information Polity 18(3): 233–42.

Fortier, Jeremy. 2010. “Can Liberalism Lose the Enlightenment?” The Journal of Politics 72(4): 1003-1013.

Harris, Peter. Forthcoming. “When States Appease: British Appeasement in the 1930s,” with Peter Trubowitz. Review of International Studies.

Harris, Peter. Forthcoming. “Militarism in Environmental Disguise: The Greenwashing of an Overseas Military Base.” International Political Sociology.

Harris, Peter. 2014. “Environmental Protection as International Security: Conserving the Pentagon’s Island Bases in the Asia-Pacific.” International Journal 69, no. 3 (September), in press.

Harris, Peter. 2014. “A Political Trilemma? International Security, Environmental Protection and Human Rights in the British Indian Ocean Territory.” International Politics 51, no. 1 (January): 87-100.

Harris, Peter. 2013. “Decolonising the Special Relationship: Diego Garcia, the Chagossians and Anglo-American Relations.” Review of International Studies 39, no. 3 (July): 707-727.

Koivumaeki, Riitta-Ilona. 2010. “Business, Economic Experts, and Conservative Party Building in Latin America: The Case of El Salvador.” Journal of Politics in Latin America 2(1): 79-106.

Mohanty, Pete. 2012. “Thick and Thin Public Sentiments and the Politics of Immigration in Europe.” Comparative Sociology.

Pittz, Steven. 2011. “Providential Partners? Tocqueville’s Take on Equality and Centralization.” The Journal of Politics 73(3): 797-807.

Sorace, Christian. Forthcoming. “China’s Vision for Developing Sichuan’s Post-Earthquake Countryside: Turning Unruly Peasants into Grateful Urban Citizens.”The China Quarterly.

Sorace, Christian and William Hurst. 2011. “Recession and the Politics of Class and Production in the World’s Factory.” New Political Science 33(4): 509-524.

Sorace, Christian. 2010. “Saint Mao.” Telos 151: 173191.

Thomas, H.F. III and Timothy M. LaPira. Forthcoming. “The Revolving Door and Interest Representation.” Interest Groups & Advocacy.

Thomas, H.F. III, Amber E. Boydstun and Shaun Bevan. Forthcoming. “The Importance of Attention Diversity and How to Measure It.” Policy Studies Journal.

Thomas, H.F. III and Halpin, Darren R. 2012. “Evaluating the Breadth of Policy Engagement by Organized Interests. Public Administration 90(3): 582-599.

Thomas, H.F. III and Halpin, Darren R. 2012. “Interest Group Survival: Sources of Mortality Anxiety.” Interest Groups & Advocacy 1(2): 215-238.

Thomas, H.F. III and Bryan D. Jones. 2012. “Bounded Rationality and Public Policy Decision-Making.” In E. Araral, S. Fritzen, M. Howlett, M. Ramesh, and X. Wu (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Public Policy. New York, NY: Routledge.

Thomas, H.F. III, Maitland, Carleen, and Louis-Marie Ngamassi Tchouakeu. 2012. “Internet Censorship Circumvention Technology Use in Human Rights Organizations: An Exploratory Analysis.” Journal of Information Technology 27(4): 285-300.

Wolfe, MichelleThomas, H.F. III, and Jones, Bryan. Forthcoming. “Policy Bubbles.” Policy Studies Journal.

Wolfe, Michelle and Christoffer Green-Pedersen. 2009. “The Institutionalization of Environmental Attention in the United States and Denmark: Multiple- verus Single-Venue Systems.” Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions 22(4): 625-646.

Kody Cooper Publications

Kody Cooper has published two articles (one forthcoming):

Hobbes Studies 26.2 (2013): “Reason and Desire After the Fall of Man: A Rereading of Hobbes’s Two Postulates of Human Nature”

British Journal of American Legal Studies 3.1 (2014): “Commanding Consistently With Sovereignty: Thomas Hobbes’s Natural Law Theory of Civil Law”

Trey Thomas Receives Clark Center Grant

The university’s Edward A. Clark Center for Australia and New Zealand Studies has awarded Trey Thomas a research grant for travel to Australia, where he will work with Darren Halpin at the Australian National University to study how organized interests in the U.S. and Australia use media releases to signal policy preferences to government actors.

Thomas has had two articles recently accepted for publication:

LaPira, Timothy M., Herschel F. Thomas III, and Frank R. Baumgartner. “Washington Lobbyists in the Core and on the Periphery.” Interest Groups & Advocacy, in press.

Theriault, Sean T. and Herschel F. Thomas III. “The Diffusion of Support for Same-Sex Marriage in the US Senate.” PS: Political Science & Politics, in press.

New Publications from Katherine Bersch and Alumnus Greg Michener

Katherine Bersch has two new publications. The first, with Sandra Botero, “Measuring Governance: Implications of Conceptual Choices,” appears in the European Journal of Development Research (26(1): 124–41). The second is with alumnus Greg Michener: “Identifying Transparency,” was published in Information Polity [18(3): 233–4].

A Political Trilemma? Peter Harris Article Forthcoming

“A Political Trilemma? International Security, Environmental Protection and Human Rights in the British Indian Ocean Territory”

Article by Peter Harris forthcoming in International Politics


This article analyzes political questions pertaining to the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory). In particular, it highlights the interrelatedness of various public policy issues that the extant academic literature has treated as distinct: (1) the US military presence on Diego Garcia; (2) UK efforts to protect the natural environment of the Chagos Islands; and (3) the human rights of the exiled Chagossians, the indigenous people of the Chagos Archipelago. The concept of a trilemma is used to illustrate the unhelpful way in which the interrelatedness of these issues currently is portrayed by the relevant political actors. The article concludes with recommendations for how the trade-offs between military-security, environmental and human rights objectives could be made less stark in the interests of all concerned.

Attention Diversity – Trey Thomas Article Forthcoming

“The Importance of Attention Diversity and How to Measure It”

New article by Trey Thomas, with Amber boydstun and Shaun Bevan, accepted for publication in Policy Studies Journal.


Studies of political attention often focus on attention to a single issue, such as front-page coverage of the economy. However, examining attention without accounting for the agenda as a whole can lead to faulty assumptions. One solution is to consider the diversity of attention; that is, how narrowly or widely attention is distributed across items (e.g., issues on an agenda or, at a lower level, frames in an issue debate). Attention diversity is an important variable in its own right, offering insight into how agendas vary in their accessibility to policy problems. Yet despite the importance of attention diversity, we lack a standard for how best to measure it. This paper focuses on the four most commonly used measures: the inverse Herfindahl Index, Shannon’s H, and their normalized versions. We discuss the purposes of these measures and compare them through simulations and using three real-world datasets. We conclude that both Shannon’s H and its normalized form are better measures, minimizing the danger of spurious findings that could result from the less sensitive Herfindahl measures. The choice between the Shannon’s H measures should be made based on whether variance in the total number of possible items (e.g., issues) is meaningful.

Policy Bubbles: Forthcoming Publication from Policy Agendas Crew

“Policy Bubbles,” by Bryan Jones, Trey Thomas, and Michelle Wolfe, has been accepted for publication in Policy Studies Journal.

Abstract: We develop the concept of a policy bubble to capture the notion of long-term overinvestment in a policy. In sketching the relation of policy bubbles to economic bubbles, we describe how these two concepts have similar origins but different trajectories because they are filtered by different institutions. We examine in some detail three likely instances of ongoing policy bubbles: crime policy, school reform (charter schools and private education vouchers), and the contracting and privatization of public services. We show how these cases differ from the housing bubble of 1997-2007, how they differ from each other, and the extent to which they can be considered policy bubbles. Lastly, we suggest this concept can help unify the policy process literature with the practice of policy evaluation, and outline testable hypotheses for future research.

Securing Peace in Burundi: Book Chapter by Josiah Marineau

Joshiah Marineau has published a chapter, “Securing Peace in Burundi: External Interventions to End the Civil War, 1993-2006,” in the book, Securing Africa: Local Crises and Foreign Intervention.

Abstract: Despite extensive research into the effects of external intervention on civil wars, relatively little work has been done on why and when external actors choose to intervene in a conflict. This chapter argues that the timing of the external intervention in Burundi was primarily contingent upon the acquiescence of the Burundian military, even if the externalities of the conflict initially drew the attention of neighboring countries. More specifically, Tanzania intervened in the civil war to stem the flow of refugees into the country, while South Africa became involved as part of its geostrategic goal of ending the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Yet the military intervention in Burundi only occurs following the signing of a peace agreement, which called for an external military force to oversee the implementation of the agreement. The chapter thus situates the Burundian civil war within the broader developments in the wars of the Great Lakes region, and analyzes the civil war interventions in four stages: 1993-1996, during which external intervention was marginal; between 1997-2000, in which regional actors and Tanzania step up regional pressure on Burundi; 2000-2004, in which South Africa and the African Union play the dominate role in intervening in the conflict; and finally 2004-2006, during which South Africa, with UN backing, oversaw the conclusion of the civil war.

Peter Harris Review Article Accepted for Publication

Peter Harris’ review article, “The Transatlantic Divide in (Undergraduate) International Relations,” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Transatlantic Studies.

Abstract: A “transatlantic divide” separates the work of International Relations (IR) scholars in the US from that of their counterparts in the UK. To provide a caricature of the divide, the median IR scholar in the US is supposed to be ontologically positivist, methodologically large-N and practically focused on solving ‘real world’ problems, especially ones pertinent to current US foreign policy. Meanwhile, the stylized British scholar is an anti-positivist and qualitative researcher, primarily concerned with answering normative questions. In reality, of course, there is a great deal of intellectual and methodological variety among faculty on both sides of the Atlantic. Nevertheless, there is more than a kernel of truth in the transatlantic divide thesis, with several scholars finding empirical support for its existence in the discipline’s top journals and on graduate syllabi. In this article, I examine two leading IR textbooks to look for evidence of the transatlantic divide in undergraduate teaching.