Brian Rathbun

Associate Professor of International Relations

Contact Information
E-mail: brathbun at
Phone: (213) 740-8840
Office: VKC 330

Curriculum Vitae
Personal Website

Biographical Sketch

Brian Rathbun received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002 and has taught at USC since 2008. He has written three solo-authored books, on humanitarian intervention, multilateral institution building, and diplomacy. His articles have appeared or are forthcoming in International Organization, World Politics, the Journal of Politics, Security Studies, the European Journal of International Relations, International Studies Quarterly, International Theory, and the Journal of Conflict Resolution among others. He is the recipient of the 2009 USC Parents Association Teaching and Mentoring Award.

Publications are downloadable at


  • B.A. Political Science, Duke University, 5/1995
  • Ph.D. Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, 7/2002

  • Postdoctoral Training

    • Postdoctoral Fellow, Mershon Center, Ohio State University, 2002-2003   

    Description of Research

    Summary Statement of Research Interests
    Brian Rathbun has interests in integrating insights from political, social and cognitive psychology into the study of international relations, in particular how ideology influences foreign policy decision-making. His primary substantive areas of concern are international cooperation, negotiation and human rights. He employs a variety of research methods, including archival-based case studies, surveys of public opinion, elite interviewing, and laboratory experiments.
    Research Keywords
    International relations theory; international organizations; human rights; European politics; European integration; party politics; ideology and foreign policy; American foreign policy; political psychology; negotiation and bargaining
    Research Specialties
    International relations theory; international organizations; human rights; European politics; European integration; party politics; ideology and foreign policy; American foreign policy; political psychology; negotiation and bargaining

    Funded Research

    USC Funding
    • USC Office of the Provost . School of International Relations Circles of Trust: The Creation of International Security Organizations and the Politics of Multilateralism: Grant to complete research for book manuscript and journal articles on the origins of American multilateralism, $15,000, 2009-2010   


    • Rathbun, B. C. (2014). Diplomacy's Value: Creating Security in 1920s Europe and the Contemporary Middle East. Cornell University Press.
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2012). Trust in International Cooperation: The Creation of International Security Institutions and the Domestic Politics of American Multilateralism. Cambridge University Press.
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2004). Partisan Interventions: European Party Politics and Peace Enforcement in the Balkans. Cornell University Press.

    Book Chapter
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2010). Domestic Politics and International Relations, in the Encyclopedia of Political Science. Sage Publications.
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2008). Interviewing and Qualitiative Field Methods, in the Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Journal Article
    • Rathbun, B. C., Kertzer, J. D., Reifler, J., Goren, P., Scotto, T. (2015). Taking Foreign Policy Personally: Personal Values and Foreign Policy Beliefs. International Studies Quarterly (forthcoming).
    • Kertzer, J. D., Rathbun, B. C. (2015). Fair is Fair: Social Preferences, Bargaining and Reciprocity in International Relations. World Politics (forthcoming).
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2014). Moral Support: How Moral Values Shape Foreign Policy Attitudes. Journal of Politics (forthcoming).
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2013). Wedges and Widgets: Liberalism, Libertarianism and the Trade Attitudes of the American Mass Public and Elites. Foreign Policy Analysis (forthcoming).
    • Hamilton, E., Rathbun, B. (2012). Scarce Differences:Towards a Material and Systemic Foundation for Offensive and Defensive Realism. Security Studies (forthcoming).
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2012). Politics and Paradigm Preferences: The Implicit Ideology of International Relations Scholars. International Studies Quarterly.
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2012). From Vicious to Virtuous Circle: Moralistic Trust, Diffuse Reciprocity, and the American Security Commitment to Europe. European Journal of International Relations.
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2011). Steeped in International Affairs: The Foreign Policy Views of the Tea Party. Foreign Policy Analysis.
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2011). Before Hegemony: Generalized Trust, International Cooperation and the Design of International Organizations. International Organization. Vol. 45 (2), pp. 243-273.
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2011). 'The Magnificent Fraud': Trust, International Cooperation and the Hidden Domestic Politics of American Multilateralism after World War II. International Studies Quarterly. Vol. 55 (1), pp. 345-380.
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2010). Is Anybody Not An (International Relations) Liberal?. Security Studies. Vol. 19 (2), pp. 2-25.
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2009). It Takes All Types: Social Psychology, Trust and the International Relations Paradigm in Our Minds. International Theory. Vol. 1 (3), pp. 345-380.
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2008). A Rose by Any other Name: Neoclassical Realism as the Natural and Necessary Extension of Neorealism. Security Studies. Vol. 17 (2), pp. 1-28.
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2008). Does One Right Make a Realist?: Conservativism, Neoconservatism and Isolationism in the Foreign Policy Ideology of American Elites. Political Science Quarterly. Vol. 123 (2)
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2007). Uncertain about Uncertainty: Clarifying a Crucial Concept for International Relations Theory. International Studies Quarterly. Vol. 51 (3), pp. 271-299.
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2007). Hierarchy and Community at Home and Abroad: Evidence of a Common Structure of Domestic and Foreign Policy Beliefs in American Elites. Journal of Conflict Resolution. Vol. 51 (3), pp. 379-407.
    • Rathbun, B. C. (2006). The Myth of German Pacifism. German Politics and Society. Vol. 24 (2), pp. 68-81.

    Honors and Awards

    • Early Sabbatical Award, USC Office of the Provost, 2015-2016   
    • Best Book Award, Diplomatic Studies Section, International Studies Association, 2014-2015   
    • USC Parents Association Teaching and Mentoring Award, 2009-2010   

  • School of International Relations
  • 3518 Trousdale Parkway
  • Von KleinSmid Center 330
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0043
  • Phone: (213) 740 - 2136