Roger Petersen | People

Roger Petersen
Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science


Roger Petersen holds BA, MA, and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago. He has taught at MIT since 2001 and is the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science. Petersen focuses on within-state conflict and violence. He has written three books: Resistance and Rebellion: Lessons from Eastern Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2001), Understanding Ethnic Violence: Fear, Hatred, Resentment in Twentieth Century Eastern Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2002), and Western Intervention in the Balkans: The Strategic Use of Emotion in Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2011).  He is currently working on a manuscript entitled “A Social Science Guide to the Iraq Conflict.”  He teaches classes on military intervention, conflict and violence, and emotions in politics.




Publications|Selected Publications

Roger Petersen and Matthew Cancian, "Between Two Caesars: The Christians of Northern Iraq," Providence, Winter 2018.

Roger Petersen, “Emotions as the Residue of Lived Experience” PS: Political Science & Politics 50 (4): October 2017, pp. 932-935.

Roger Petersen, "Western Interventions and Occupations as Threatened Orders," written for the Collaborative Research Centre 923 Project on Threatened Orders, Tuebingen University, Germany, published in ​Aufruhr-Katastophe-Konkurrenz-Zerfall:Bedrohte Ordnungen als Thema der Kulturwissenschaften, ​Erwald Frie and Mischa Meier, editors (Mohr Siebeck: 2014)


Roger Petersen, "Guilt, Shame, Balts, Jews," in Confronting Memories of World War II: European and Asian Legacies (Jackson School of Publications in International Studies), Daniel Chirot, Gi-Wok Shin, and Daniel Sneider, editors (University of Washington Press, 2014)


Roger Petersen, "Roles and Mechanisms of Insurgency and the Conflict in Syria's War," Project on Middle East Political Science, Briefing 22, December 2013.


Roger Petersen, "Identity, Rationality, and Emotion in the Processes of State Disintegration and Reconstruction," in Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics, Kanchan Chandra ed. (Oxford University Press, 2012)


Roger Petersen with Jon Lindsay, "Varieties of Insurgency in Iraq, 2003-2009," case study prepared for the Naval War College Center for Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups (November, 2011)


Roger Petersen with Sarah Zukerman, "Revenge or Reconciliation: Theory and Method of Emotions in the Context of Colombia's Peace Process," in Law in Peace Negotiations, Morton Bergsmo and Pablo Kalmonowitz (Torkel Opsahl, 2010) 




Moderator, "Starr Forum: America's Civil-MIlitary Crisis," MIT Center for International Studies, June 11, 2020.

Quoted in "We need political parties.But their rabid partisanship could destroy American democracy,", September 5, 2017.

New York Times, January 16, 2016, "In Syria, Politics Can be More Effective than Military Action."