[Best way to track my activities, since I update this page infrequently, is to follow my blog at]


November 2011:

  • Spoke at Model UN meeting in Montreal.

October 2011:

  • Received heaps of very insightful and useful comments and suggestions from folks at USC and William and Mary on the NATO and Afghanistan book.
  • Officially signed the paperwork so that I can hold the Paterson Chair of International Affairs at Carleton University, starting in July 2012.

September 2011:

  • Heaps of trips to come: APSA in Seattle, military adaptation workshop in the Cotswolds, and then an early October talk at USC.  Plus the start of classes.

July 2011:

  • Australia!!!  Two days of interesting workshop with some very sharp folks, and then one day of diving at the Great Barrier Reef.

June 2011:

  • Spent much of month driving to Ottawa and back, interviewing various folks about the civilian effort in Kandahar for the Australian edited volume workshop in July.
  • I have been sucked into the TRIP research project as one of the Canadian researchers.  Holy identity crisis!

May 2011:

  • Became a regular columnist for Current Intelligence web-magazine.
  • Presented paper at CIGI conference on Afghanisan.

April 2011:

  • Gave talks on the international effort in Afghanistan at Bridgewater State Univ and Grove City College.  Got invites to conferences in May in Waterloo, ON and in July in ... Australia.

March 2011:

  • Theme of the month was conferences at home: International Studies Assn meeting followed by a workshop organized by John Hall on nationalism and war.

Jan/Feb 2011:

  • Traveled to The Hague to interview Dutch officers and politicians about their mission in Afghanistan, and then to NATO HQ's in Brunssum, Mons, and Brussels to get the NATO story.
  • Ora Szekely accepted tenure-track position at Clark University.  Last fall, Suranjan Weeraratne gained a similar position at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

December 2010:

  • Went to Konstanz, Germany via Zurich to take part in a workshop on military adataption and Afghanistan.  I was presenting the Canadian case, got very helpful contacts for next step of the project--The Netherlands.

October 2010:

  • Presented research at a conference at Mt. Holyoke on multilateral peace-building and as part of a series at Northwestern.

September 2010:

  • Enjoyed the APSA in Washington, DC.  Enjoyed even more coming home as an acceptance letter was waiting for me.  My project with Dave Auerswald on NATO and Afghanistan will have a piece published in International Studies Quarterly although it will have to wait until 2012! 

August 2010:

  • Received a Special Project grant from the DND's Security and Defence Forum to go to the Netherlands and NATO HQ in Brussels to continue the NATO in Afghanistan project.
  • Traveled to Copenhagen to learn why the Danes are so exceptional in Afghanistan--despite a coalition government, they have had few caveats and have been taking the most casualties per capita. 
  • Prepared several of my students for this fall's job market (see their CV links on my Research Team page).

June 2010:

  • Received a NATO grant to go to Denmark to understand why it is fighting so hard in Southern Afghanistan when most of its neighbors are in safer places.
  • Presented "State Capacity: The Cure or the Disease" at the Kingston Conference on International Security, June 21-23rd, 2010, Kingston, Ontario.

May 2010:

  • Appeared on CBC Montreal to discuss 9/11 conspiracy theorists who were appearing at the University of Quebec at Montreal.  My take: they have a right to speak, but there is little point in arguing with such folks (I grouped them with Holocaust deniers, those who think the manned moon landing was faked, and the like).

April 2010:

  • Published an op-ed piece in the Globe and Mail, arguing that Canada has more choices in Afghanistan than all or nothing.
  • Received new SSHRC grant to study diasporas over the next three or four years.  The idea is that our understanding of diasporas is biased, as we tend to focus only on the most mobilized, most chock full of impact (I hate the world impactful).  This project, with Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham (Iowa State U.) and Erin Jenne (Central European U.), seeks to gather data on all émigré groups to figure out why some mobilize and whether mobilization makes a difference.

March 2010:

  • Spent two weeks in Australia and New Zealand talking over forty people: members of parliament, officers in each military, civilians in their Ministries of Defence, experts, academics and others.  Very productive.  Sneaked in some tourism, too. 
  • Participated in a McGill poli sci panel on the divisions among the fields.  Twas a fun conversation.
  • Served on a panel organized by McGill's Debating Union on Canada and Afghanistan.  The other panelist was Major General Fraser, who ran both Canadian and NATO operations in Southern Afghanistan in 2006 when things got interesting.  It was nice to catch up with him as he was among my first interviews for the project that took me to Australia and New Zealand.

February 2010:

  • ISA went well, got elected to the Foreign Policy Analysis section's board of officers.  Main responsibilities: chair the grad student paper competition and start a blog.
  • Appearing at a forum "A New Way Forward: Public Forum on Afghanistan," organized by a Sauvé scholar: Feb 10th, 6-8pm at the Moot Court, Faculty of Law, McGill .
  • Preparation for ISA continues, as the conference is in New Orleans from Mardi Gras onwards.  I am presenting two co-authored papers and participating in a panel that honors Pat James for his keep poker skills and also that publication record thingy.

January 2010:

  • Continued my conversations with Canadian officers, as I got a chance to interview the relatively new Commander of CEFCOM: Canadian Expeditionary Forces Command (commands all CF outside of North America) and formerly the NATO commander of RC-South LtGeneral Marc Lessard.
  • Preparation for the trip down under continued with meetings with Australian and New Zealand Defense Attaches.
  • Was on seven radio stations across Canada over the course of three hours via CBC syndicated to talk about Canada and Afghanistan post-2011.

November 2009:

  • Second speaker dropped out due to illness from REGIS workshop, so I subbed in.  Got some good comments on my caveats project.
  • Large undergrad intro class got hit badly by H1N1 just at the time the second paper was due.
  • See more news and such at

September 2009:

  • Had a very successful American Political Science Association meeting that was, ironically, in Toronto this year.  Presented the summer's research in Europe and received some good feedback.  Now revising for publication.
  • Now appearing, it seems, twice a month on the local CTV news program about Afghanistan.

July 2009:

  • Found out that the Security and Defence Forum of Canada's Department of National Defence is going to fund my research in Australia and New Zealand to understand how and why British-style parliaments vary in their oversight over their respective militaries.
  • Spent nearly a week in London for the purpose of presenting the caveats stuff at workshop.  Had a great time (see ye olde blog).

June 2009:

  • Spent a week in Paris and then a week in Berlin to interview military and civilian officials about French and German efforts in Afghanistan. Got a chance to present my findings at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik [German Institute for International and Security Affairs.  See my blog for what I learned both for the project and about the respective cities/countries.

May 2009:

April 2009:

  • April 24th at the Association of Studies of Nationalities--a book panel dedicated to For Kin or For Country.  It should be an interesting experience.
  • Classes end and then I take off for Ottawa to celebrate.  Actually, Lt. General Gauthier hosted a handful of nearby scholars to talk about Canada and Afghanistan.  Very useful for meeting some folks with converging research agendas.  And then I spent an hour with France's Defense Attaché, as I prepare for my June trip to Paris and Berlin to continue the project on the civil-military relations of participants in ISAF.  Hopefully, I can get some $$ to ask the down under folks about their participation as well.

March 2009:

  • MRGEC Event: March 29th (Leacock429, 3pm): Marie-Eve Desrosiers spoke on "Ideology and Conflict in Rwanda: Historical and Contemporary Trends," based on her trip last fall.
  • March 29th was also the day for prospective PhD students to visit McGill and for us to persuade them how wonderful we are. 
  • On March 25th, we had Brigadier General Denis Thompson, who commanded Canada's troops in Afghanistan from May 08 to Feb 09 and all of NATO's forces in Kandahar in my civil-military relations class. 
  • On March 12th, I gave a talk based on "For Kin or For Country" to the Collaborative Graduate Program in Migration and Ethnic Relations at the University of Western Ontario.  I enjoyed meeting the MER-people--nice to get feedback from a more inter-disciplinary crowd.   I drove directly from the airport back to Ottawa to see the civilian and military leaders of the Dutch mission in Uruzgan.  Interesting to see the similarities and the differences between their effort and the Canadian one.

February 2009:

  • ISA was a bit different with the family joining me in NYC.  Also strange to be the senior scholar there at a workshop.  Finally the gray in my beard is matching my status! 
  • We are holding the jobtalks for our IPE position this month!
  • More decision-making--we reviewed files for PhD admissions!!  In the middle of the MA files now. 
  • Second MRGEC event: Feb 20th: Eric Kaufman of U of London (Leacock429, 3pm) on The Lenses of Nationhood: A Grand Theory of National Identity.

January 2009:

  • First MRGEC event of the new year:  On January 9th, at 3pm (Leacock 429), Dr. Sandrine Perrot will speak on "Who's The Bull In The Kraal? Militiarisation Of Security And Strengthening Of The State."

November 2008:

  • On November 5th, at 4:45pm, Suranjan Weeraratne presented on “Degrees of 'Scapegoatability': Assessing Spatial Variations In Violence Against The Ethnic Chinese In Indonesia."
  •  Went to Salt Lake City for a forum at the University of Utah, with most of the discussion on terrorism, including keynote speaker Rep (ret) Lee Hamilton.  A very interesting time--too early to go skiing unfortunately.
  • Spoke at Queen's University as well on the Caveats paper.  Received some very useful feedback and it was good to see some friends.
  • On November 19th at the McGill Bookstore, I launched my book, For Kin or Country: Xenophobia, Nationalism and War, written with R. William Ayres.  Got a good crowd, plenty of desserts, but not enough spring rolls!  Maybe for the next book.

October 2008:

  • I went to the US Army War College in Carlisle, PA at the end of the month to present our work on Caveats in Afghanistan.  Got some good feedback, including from some Canadians currently working there.Was interesting to see TV ads in a "swing" state in the last days of the campaign.

September 2008:

  • Important lesson learned--when someone writes a press release for you, double and triple check.  ISQ decided to publicize the piece with David Steinberg on government involvement in the economy and its impact on ethnic conflict.  We found that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, the greater the involvement of governments in the allocation of economic outcomes, the worse ethnic conflict is likely to be.  David was my undergraduate student, not my Master's Student.  Oh well, the important thing is that the press release gets the argument and findings right.  For an example, see here.
  • Start of classes--new grad course on Civil War is very interesting, but requires heaps of work, not a good idea when I am writing a SSHRC grant at the same time.
  • Work for Associate Director of Graduate Studies seems to be more intense this year.  Just one more year of it, and then someone else's turn.

August 2008:

  • Looks like some media time on CTV as Afghanistan is looking worse than Iraq, something I would have bet against after my 10 day tour last December.

July 2008:

  • Highlights of the month were the Montreal Comedy Festival (Just for Laughs) and the family trip to the beach in Delaware.  Not much in the way of professional news, except for much media stuff at the end of the month to the arrest of the most notable PIFWC (Karadzic).

June 2008:

  • For Kin or Country is now published, officially.  Available at Amazon and the other usual outlets. 
  • The spring of travel ended with the 40th Anniversary of the Council on Foreign Relations' International Affairs Fellowship.  I am most grateful for the Pentagon experience made possible by the CFR's IAF program.  At the meeting, I had the chance to shake the hand of the previous IAF who had worked in the Joint Staff--Secretary of State (and former NSA) Rice.  Despite my somewhat strong opinions about the Bush Administration, I think I was polite in suggesting a problem with one of her points in her talk when explaining Iraq. 
  • Dartmouth was beautiful.  Went for a book workshop, stayed for the food. 
  • The CPSA was wet, to be expected in Vancouver.

May 2008: 

  • The trip to Oberlin for the reunion went well, including stops at Niagara Falls and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Got burned badly on defense at the alumni vs. seniors game, but was able to get a few passes down the field.  And Jessica joined the action.  Oberlin has not changed too much except for a very new big science building. 
  • The spring road trip continues.  Spent a couple of days at a conference on Federalism/Territorial Pluralism, as a member of the audience.  My work on institutions and ethnic conflict has been on the back burner while the Maryland folks work on the dataset.
  • Next stop: Oberlin for my reunion.  June will begin with Vancouver for the Canadian Political Science Association meeting, then Dartmouth for a book workshop and then New York for the 40th anniversary of the International Affairs Fellowship.  Good thing gas prices are low these days!

April 2008:

  • Much time on the road to Ottawa at the end of the month, but to present rather than interview: on caveats at Centre for International Policy Studies
    University of Ottawa on April 30th, and then on "The Future of the Balkans" at the Conference of Defence Associations on May 5th. 
  • TA's are on strike so I am late with everything: reviews, grades, papers.  Sorry. 
  • See the cover of Kin or Country on my main page!
  • It is only the 8th day of April, and the month continues to be good to me: for the second time, I have received the McGill Political Science Student Association Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
  • Participated in a roundtable in Ottawa hosted by the Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier with Gen. Craddock, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).  The audience was most of the CA command staff, several retired officers who had just participated in a trip to Afghanistan, and five scholars.  A very interesting morning, followed up by a lunch at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) who wanted to know what we learned during our trip to Afghanistan.

March 2008:

  • Survived the International Studies Association meeting in San Francisco.  Had co-authors present three different papers, learned that a monkey bite killed a King in the early part of the 20th century and that the Egyptians (circa 1000 BC) are responsible for xenophobia in today's Europe.
  • February and March have seen more media appearances (Radio, TV, newspapers) to discuss the recognition of Kosovo, including its implications (largely non-existent) for Quebec independence.
  • The Double Hats projects continues, with an interview of the Canadian Chief of the Defense Staff Rick Hillier, with presentations at the UdeMontreal on the mission and at the International Studies Association on the larger project with David Auerswald and Michael Tierney.
  • Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé made it back from Africa and France, conducting research for her dissertation (the Africa portions) and my project on civil-military relations and the intervention in Afghanistan.  She even made it to Somalia to talk to some refugees.  Wow!!

January 2008

  • More Media appearances to talk about the Manley Report, including a short bit on CTV, a BC call in show on January 27th, and a co-authored piece with Stéphane Roussel in Le Devoir
  • Will be talking about what I learned on the trip to Afghanistan on Jan. 21st, as part of the MRGEC workshop series, at 3:30 in Leacock 517.

December 2007

  • Just came back from a two-week trip to Brussels and Afghanistan.  Was part of DND/NATO team of scholars (opinion leaders?) to visit the operations in Kabul, Kandahar and at the Provincial Reconstruction Team base in Kandahar.  More than 30 briefings/meetings with Afghani officials, NATO officers, members of the international community, and Canadian Armed Forces.  A fascinating trip that will shape my research and courses in the next few years.  For pictures, see my photo gallery.
  • Will be traveling in the US and Afghanistan for most of the month, so if you need to get in touch, email would work best. 
  • Got to be part of a group of Quebec IR scholars to meet with American and Canadian officials, led by the head of the Policy Planning Staff at the State Dept and his CA equivalent.  Basically, we got to ask pesky questions of policy-makers.  And it held in a prominent (well, very well-funded) law firm with great views of Montreal!

October 2007

  •  Finished revising Insecurity in Intra-State conflicts and mailed it off to Routledge.  Now will have to remember what is the next project.
  • My students managed to contribute more than $400, so I came to class as Che Guevara (the week's lectures were focused on the Cold War).  Way to go, students of 244!  I will post pictures if anybody sends me any.
  •  A paper by Bill Ayres and myself was reviewed in the Wilson Quarterly--so it might actually reach the eyes and minds of policy-makers!
  • Students working for UNICEF have dared my students in 244 (all 600 of them) to donate and if the donations exceed $400, then I must wear a costume on Halloween.  And I have agreed that if the donations greatly exceed $400, then the costume will be sillier.  But that seems unlikely since the logic of collective action applies.

September 2007:

  • I participated in a conference on Canada and Afghanistan organized by the Ude Montreal side of the Research Group on International Security, including a speech by the new Canadian Foreign Minister that made news due to the protests.  See my new media page for more.
  • I have been renewed as a Canada Research Chair, which is quite handy for funding a series of smaller projects and expediting some of the larger ones. 
  • The book manuscript has been delivered to Columbia U Press--look for "For Kin or Country: Xenophobia, Nationalism and War" to be available next spring/summer!!  Next is polishing up the edited volume for Routledge, not to mention getting the FQRSC grant ready.

August 2008:

  • After a week in Anaheim and San Diego, my daughter concurs with Disney's marketing slogans: happiest place on Earth, Magical Kingdom, etc.  And San Diego was again America's Finest City.  Great beaches, great Mexican food, great weather.
  • The sabbatical comes to a crashing end.... Alas.

July 2007:

  •  Routledge has accepted Insecurity in Intra-State Conflicts: Governments, Rebels, and Outsiders, edited with Marie-Joëlle Zahar, to be published in 2008.
  • ISQ has accepted a piece written by my first undergrad RA at McGill.  David Steinberg is now a PhD student at Northwestern, and carried the load for “Laissez Fear? Assessing the Impact of State Intervention in the Economy on Ethnic Conflict.”   We argue that greater government in the economy is likely to exacerbate ethnic conflict since the stakes of controlling the state are higher and the stats bear out our expectations.

June 2007: 

  •  Poli Sci 440: Civil-Military Relations has been opened for registration.

May 2007:

  • Columbia U Press has agreed to publish my next book with Bill Ayres, For Kin or For Country: Xenophobia, Nationalism and War After Communism (title is subject to change--suggestions?).

April 2007:

  • I had a conversation lasting 1.5 hours or so with former Prime Minister Paul Martin.  While we focused on Canada's role in Afghanistan, we did talk a bit about other issues, including the recent provincial elections. 
  • I spent three days at a workshop on Secession, Autonomy and Liberty, which including political scientists, philosophers and a couple of secessionists--who seek Vermont's independence. This job gets more and more interesting!

March 2007:

  • My new course on Civil-Military Relations (440) is not yet listed but will be taught next winter (2008).  If you are interested, keep a look out for it. 
  • The multilateral military intervention project gets more and more interesting, with additional conversations with military officers and soon conversations with members of parliament, including past Ministers of Defense.  I also hope to interview the current Minister of Defense.
  • The sabbatical is nearly over, with only the usual summer left.  The book is still under review, but I do have three articles coming out in the next several months (CJPS, JPR, FPA).  Much progress on the multilateral military intervention project, but that project is still at its early stages.  The focus right now is on the civilian side, talking with the past and hopefully present Ministers of National Defence. 


January/February 2007:

  • I am spending time in Edmonton, Kingston, and Ottawa interviewing Canadian officers, particularly those who have or are overseeing operations in Afghanistan.
  • Jonathan Paquin, one of my first students at McGill, has successfully defended his dissertation and has accepted a tenure track position at King's College.
  • Brent Sasley, the other early victim, defended his dissertation recently, and he moves to Texas next fall to take a tenure track position at U of Texas at Arlington.


November 2006:

  • I have been doing heaps of media lately, discussing the war on terrorism, Iraq, and most recently (and most joyously) the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld.
  • I am reaching some kind of new status in Canada--not only did I just become a permanent resident (more complicated perhaps but less expensive than getting a green card in the US, I think), but I have recently had a piece accepted in the Canadian Journal of Political Science.  See my research page on this website for more info on that.  Maybe now, my credit rating will exceed those of my students.

April 2006:

  • This spring, two of my students,  Sam Stanton from Texas Tech and Jonathan Paquin found academic positions.  Sam will be teaching for the foreseeable future at Grove City College in eastern Pennsylvania while Jonathan will be at King's College in London, Ontario. 
  • In April, I received the McGill Political Science Students' Association Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
  • At almost the same time, I received a Social Sciences Humanities Research Grant to study the problem of delegation in multilateral military operations with Dave Auerswald and Mike Tierney.







(Last updated, May 31, 2007)