Paul MacDonald

Areas of Expertise

I specialize in international politics with a focus on issues of empire, imperialism and sovereign inequality in the international system.My research falls into two areas: Empire/Imperialism I am currently working on a manuscript that examines the social foundations of imperial expansion. In contrast to existing theories that emphasize the role of political power or military technology, I argue that the foundations of imperial governance were largely social. Using various archival materials, I trace the historical development of interpersonal social ties that helped the British construct and sustain imperial governance institutions in cases drawn from India, South Africa and Nigeria. Sovereign Inequality/Contemporary Political Change I am also working on a variety of projects on sovereign inequality in the context of a changing international environment. Topics include the determinants of successful overseas military occupations, the colonial origins of counterinsurgency doctrine, the domestic political impact of American overseas military basing on host countries, and the macro-political determinants of so-called “new wars”.

Scholarship/Creative Work

“Is Imperial Rule Obsolete? Assessing the Barriers to Overseas Adventurism.” Security Studies, forthcoming “Those Who Forget Historiography are Doomed to Republish It: Empire, Imperialism and Contemporary Debates about American Power.” Review of International Studies, forthcoming “Correspondence: The Role of Hierarchy in International Politics.” International Security, Vol. 32, No. 4, (Spring 2008), pp. 171-180. “ Useful Fiction or Miracle Maker: the Competing Epistemological Foundations of Rational Choice Theory.” American Political Science Review, Vol. 97, No. 4 (November 2003), pp. 551-565.