William Walldorf

William Walldorf

Associate Fellow

Will Walldorf is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. Walldorf’s research focuses on the role of norms and collective ideas in international politics and foreign policy.

His first book, Just Politics: Human Rights and the Foreign Policy of Great Powers (Cornell University Press, 2008) focused on the ways that human rights norms constrain the ability of democratic great powers to make and sustain alliances with other states in the international system. Just Politics won the International Studies Association ISSS Award for the best book on international security for 2010. Walldorf is also the co-editor of the Oxford Companion to American Politics (Oxford University Press, 2012). His articles have appeared in Security Studies and The European Journal of International Relations.

Walldorf’s current book project focuses on the relationship between broad political culture and patterns of forceful regime change in United States foreign policy from 1900-2011. The book, first, develops and tests a theory of why collective ideas across the polity of the United States about the efficacy and desirability of promoting democracy abroad strengthen and weaken over time. It, then, assesses how changes in these ideas open and close political space that affects the decisions of foreign policy elites about whether or not to use force to advance democracy abroad. In addition to broad statistical tests, the book explores the relationship between democracy ideas and forceful regime change in detailed case studies ranging from U.S. intervention in Nicaragua during the 1920s to current/recent cases involving Libya and Syria.

Walldorf received his BA from Bowdoin College and MA/PhD from the University of Virginia. He has held postdoctoral fellowships at Dartmouth College and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia.

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