Faculty Profile

Karen Ruth Adams

Karen Ruth Adams

Professor of Political Science (International Relations)

Email: karen.adams@umontana.edu
Office: Liberal Arts 350
Office Hours:

Office Hours

On Zoom: Thursdays 2:00 - 4:00 and by appointment

Please email me for the Zoom link. 


Curriculum Vitae


  • Introduction to International Relations (PSCI 230)

  • International Security (PSCI 334)

  • International Law and Organizations (PSCI 433)

  • Global Environmental Politics (PSCI 332)

  • Model United Nations (PSCI 337)

  • Graduate Seminar in International Relations (PSCI 530)

Personal Summary

I teach and write about international relations and human, national, international, and global security.  My research has three streams:

--Developing and using a new framework to measure, explain, and improve human, national, international, and global security.

--Enhancing the understanding of international-relations theory, testing, data, and forecasting.

--Providing opportunities for conversation and collaboration among security scholars, policy makers, practitioners, and citizens.

I've published articles and chapters on great power politics, the strategic effects of military technology, and the causes, conduct, and consequences of war.  I'm finishing a book called Security Pluralism:  Understanding and Improving Human, National, and Global Survival and Prosperity.

In 2007, I received UM’s Helen and Winston Cox Award for Teaching Excellence.  In 2015, I received UM's Tom Boone Town and Gown Award for my service as faculty advisor to the Montana Model UN high school conference and travelling team.  From 2016-2018, I was department chair, serving 10 tenure-track faculty, several adjunct faculty, and more than 200 undergraduate and graduate students.

In 2014, I was named a “super forecaster” in the Good Judgment Project, a four-year study of geopolitical forecasting.  I've written and been interviewed about my experience as a subject-matter expert, and I've briefed members of the US defense and intelligence community on international relations and security forecasting. 

I appear on KGVO News Talk radio to discuss international current events with local callers.  

Professional Biography  Download PDF

I tweet @karenruthadams


Ph.D.   University of California, Berkeley, Political Science, 2000

Fields: International Relations, Comparative Politics, African Politics

Committee:  Kenneth N. Waltz, Jyotirindra Das Gupta, Gene I. Rochlin

M.A.     University of California, Berkeley, Political Science, 1989

B.A.      Stanford University, Political Science and Economics, 1986

Selected Publications

  • “Structural-Realism:  The Imperialism of Great Power,” in Jennifer Sterling-Folker, ed., Making Sense of International Relations Theory, 2nd ed. (Boulder:  Lynne Rienner, 2013).  [Causes of the 2003 US conquest of Iraq]  Link to contents.  Download PDF.
  • “The Causes of War,” in Robert Denemark et al. eds. The International Studies Encyclopedia (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).  [International Studies Association International Studies Compendium Project/International Studies Online]  Link to contents.  Download PDF.  
  • “Structural-Realism:  The Consequences of Great-Power Politics,” in Jennifer Sterling-Folker, ed., Making Sense of International Relations Theory, 1st ed. (Boulder:  Lynne Rienner, 2005). [Effects of state weakness on Yugoslavian vulnerability to civil and international war]  Download PDF.  
  • "Attack and Conquer?  International Anarchy and the Offense-Defense-Deterrence Balance,” International Security 28:3 (Winter 2003/04), pp. 45-83.  Link to journal.  Link to codebook and dataset.

Policy Pieces

  • “Chintan Manan (Contemplation): Remembering Rajendra Dev Acharya,” in Clem Work, ed., These and That: Memories of Rajendra Dev Acharya, December 2019, pp. 12-14. Download pdf.

  • "Reflections of a (Female Subject-Matter Expert) Superforecaster," Good Judgment Project blog, 1 October 2014. Download pdf.

  • “North Korea Raises the Stakes,” Women in International Security Issue Brief, Winter 2007 (coauthored with Kimberly Hannon).  Download pdf.

  • Montana Model UN committee and topic background guides, more than 60 since 2008, also used by Teton County Model UN, Sciences-Po Rennes, and other conferences and programs.  Link to recent MMUN guides.  

Invited Lectures

  • “First Among Equals:  The U.S., China, and 21st Century Leadership,” Flathead Valley Community College Mansfield Lecture, 23 September 2019. Link to press releaseLink to video.

  • “Reflections on the First Year of Sino-American Bipolarity,” Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics and Center for the Study of Contemporary China, University of Pennsylvania, 15 October 2015.  

  • “Security Pluralism:  A Systemic Approach to Human, National, and Global Survival and Prosperity,” Political Science Graduate and Faculty Colloquium, University of Connecticut, 13 October 2015.  

  • "A New Approach to Security Studies:  The Threat, Vulnerability, and Assistance Framework," research seminar, Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, 28 May 2015.  

  • "Forecasting China's Rise," public lecture, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, 27 May 2015.  Cosponsored by the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy, the Center for China-U.S. Cooperation, and the Pardee Center for International Futures.

  • “Forecasting International-Political Events,” briefing for members of the US defense and intelligence community, including the Defense Language and National Security Education Office and the National Geospatial Agency, 20-21 January 2015.

  • “Measuring Human, National, and International Security,” Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center Faculty Colloquium, University of Montana, April 2013.

  • “Teaching Strategic Studies to Undergraduates,” Summer Workshop on Strategic Studies, Philip Merrill Center, Johns Hopkins University, Basin Harbor, VT, June 2011.

Additional Courses

  • American Foreign Policy (PSCI 335)

Special Offerings

  • Food and Politics, Summer 2005

  • War and Politics in Europe, LSU in Paris, Summer 2003

Chair Director Departments

Political Science