‘Fantastic Opportunity’: Dartmouth Hosts Postdoc Fellows

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Six of the nation’s most promising scholars will spend the year at Dartmouth as International Security and U.S. Foreign Policy Fellows.

The program, sponsored by the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding and the Office of Dean of the Faculty, gives scholars the opportunity to conduct research, work on books and articles, and interact with faculty and students throughout the 2013-2014 academic year.

“These are some of the top young scholars in their respective fields, and we are delighted they are here at Dartmouth,” says Daniel Benjamin, the Norman E. McCulloch Jr. Director of the Dickey Center.  “I’m certain they will contribute greatly to the intellectual life of the Dartmouth community.   My hope is that in the course of the year, they will have the kind of in-depth contact with various visitors at Dickey—especially the foreign and security affairs practitioners—that gives them an understanding of the policy world that few of their peers have at this stage of their careers.”

“We are pleased to welcome these talented scholars to Dartmouth,” says Dean of the Faculty Michael Mastanduno. “We look forward to having them interact with faculty members, students, and the entire community.”

Some of the postdoctoral fellows are already on campus, and others will arrive in September. They will have offices in the Dickey Center.

Here is a look at the fellows and their research:

Jeffrey Friedman

“I think that Dartmouth’s faculty in international relations and security studies is exceptional,” says Jeffrey Friedman. (Courtesy of Jeffrey Friedman)

Jeffrey Friedman

Friedman earned his bachelor and PhD degrees from Harvard. He will work on making his dissertation into a book manuscript while he is at Dartmouth.

“My dissertation focused on how military decision-makers often struggle to evaluate their strategic progress, and, in many cases, their lack of strategic progress,” Friedman says.

Friedman’s dissertation is entitled “Cumulative Dynamics and Strategic Assessment: U.S. Military Decision Making in Iraq, Vietnam, and the American Indian Wars.” During his time in Hanover, Friedman says, he will seek insight from Dartmouth professors.

“I think that Dartmouth’s faculty in international relations and security studies is exceptional,” says Friedman. “I am very much looking forward to working with them.”

Joshua Kertzer

“Dartmouth has built up an extraordinary strength in the study of U.S. foreign policy and international security,” says Joshua Kertzer. (Courtesy of Joshua Kertzer)

Joshua Kertzer

Kertzer, who earned his PhD in political science from Ohio State University, researches international security and political psychology, specifically looking at how leaders act in wartime.

“While at the Dickey Center,” says Kertzer, “I’ll be working on a book manuscript that draws on research on willpower and self-control from social psychology and behavioral economics to explore why some leaders display remarkable persistence in wartime, whereas others back down quickly in the face of trouble.”

Kertzer is eager to become a part of the Dartmouth community. “I’m looking forward to the rich intellectual climate at the Dickey Center,” says Kertzer. “Dartmouth has built up an extraordinary strength in the study of U.S. foreign policy and international security.”

After his year at Dartmouth, Kertzer will become an assistant professor of government at Harvard University.

Victor McFarland

“Spending a year at Dartmouth will let me incorporate some of these different disciplinary perspectives into my work,” says Victor McFarland. (Courtesy of Victor McFarland)

Victor McFarland

McFarland, a native of Idaho, earned his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a PhD from Yale University.

“My research focuses on U.S.–Arab relations during the oil crisis of the 1970s. It takes an international perspective and explores the ways in which high oil prices and the supply shocks of 1973–74 and 1979–80 changed the United States and the Arab Gulf in ways that still resonate today,” says McFarland.

McFarland looks forward to interacting with Dartmouth professors.

“The Dickey fellowship will be a fantastic opportunity to enrich my research by collaborating with scholars both in history and in political science as part of the interdisciplinary community at the Dickey Center,” he says.

“Spending a year at Dartmouth will let me incorporate some of these different disciplinary perspectives into my work,” says McFarland.

After his year in residency at Dartmouth, McFarland will head to Columbia, Mo., where he will serve as an assistant professor of history at the University of Missouri.

Lindsey O’Rourke

“I’m looking forward to joining a group of scholars known for both their outstanding work and their collegiality,” says Lindsey O’Rourke. (Courtesy of Lindsey O’Rourke)

Lindsey O’Rourke

O’Rourke, who earned her PhD from the University of Chicago, researches the Cold War era.

“My current research is on the causes, conduct, and consequences of regime change, focusing particular attention on U.S.-orchestrated covert operations during the Cold War,” says O’Rourke. “The fellowship will give me an opportunity to interact with Dartmouth’s exceptional faculty as I turn my dissertation into a book manuscript.”

O’Rourke’s dissertation is entitled “Secrecy and Security: U.S.-Orchestrated Regime Change During the Cold War.”

“I’m looking forward to joining a group of scholars, known both for their outstanding work and their collegiality. I hope to receive their advice and feedback on my work,” she says.

Maria Sperandei

“I look forward to interacting daily with the Dartmouth faculty, visiting scholars, students in international studies, and other Dickey Fellows,” says Maria Sperandei. (Photo by: Laura Thaut)

Maria Sperandei

Sperandei earned her PhD in government from Cornell University. Her dissertation, which she plans to turn into a book, focuses on financial crises and the national security policies of crisis-stricken governments.

“The Dickey Center for International Understanding is an exciting forum for initiating a debate on the interdependence between financial crises and national security issues,” she says.

“I look forward to interacting daily with the Dartmouth faculty, visiting scholars, students in international studies, and other Dickey Fellows, while also collecting reactions and receiving feedback on my research.”

Laura Thaut

“I hope to engage with Dartmouth students, encouraging their interest in issues of religion and politics, and peace and conflict studies,” says Laura Thaut. (Courtesy of Laura Thaut)

Laura Thaut

Thaut, who earned her PhD from the University of Minnesota, studies religious change in the global south, civil conflict, and ethnic politics. Her dissertation is titled “The Inevitable Clash? Inter-religious Violence and Local Power-sharing in Nigeria.

She will work on a book manuscript during her time in Hanover. “The Dickey postdoctoral program places me in a wonderful community of scholars who are experts in the field of international security and civil conflict,” says Thaut. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to interact with them and benefit from their feedback and insights.”

Thaut says she is looking forward to meeting her fellow postdocs and community members.

“I hope to engage with Dartmouth students, encouraging their interest in issues of religion and politics, and peace and conflict studies,” she says.