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 four 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), Western Intervention in the Balkans: The Strategic Use of Emotion in Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2011), and “Death, Domination, and State-Building: The US in Iraq and the Future of American Military Intervention, (Oxford University Press, 2024).” He has taught classes on military intervention, civil war, civil-military relations, and emotions in politics, as well as classes focusing on regional conflicts in the Balkans and the Middle East.




Publications|Selected Publications

Roger Petersen, “The Future of American Military Intervention,” Horizons No. 18 (Winter 2021)

Roger Petersen, “Emotions and Backlash in US Society and Politics,” The British Journal of Politics and International Relations (September 2020)

Review of Timothy Andrews Sayle, Jeffery A. Engel, Hal Brands, and William Inboden, The Last Card: Inside George W. Bush’s Decision to Surge in Iraq. H-Diplo Roundtabel XXII-7, October 12, 2020.

Roger Petersen, “Anger and Politics,” in Carolyn Price and Eric Walle, eds., Emotion Researcher: ISRE’s Sourcebook for Research on Emotion and Affect (August 2019)
Roger Petersen, "Between Two Caesars: The Christians of Northern Iraq," Providence (Winter 2018) (With Matthew Cancian)
Roger Petersen, “Emotions as the Residue of Lived Experience” PS: Political Science & Politics Vol. 50, No. 4 (October 2017)

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 Erwald Frie and Mischa Meier, eds., Aufruhr-Katastophe-Konkurrenz-Zerfall:Bedrohte Ordnungen als Thema der Kulturwissenschaften (Mohr Siebeck, 2014)
Roger Petersen, "Guilt, Shame, Balts, Jews," in Daniel Chirot, Gi-Wok Shin, and Daniel Sneider, eds., Confronting Memories of World War II: European and Asian Legacies (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 Kanchan Chandra ed., Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics (Oxford University Press, 2012)
Roger Petersen, "Varieties of Insurgency in Iraq, 2003-2009," case study prepared for the Naval War College Center for Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups (November 2011) (With Jon Lindsay)
Roger Petersen, "Revenge or Reconciliation: Theory and Method of Emotions in the Context of Colombia's Peace Process," in Morton Bergsmo and Pablo Kalmonowitz,eds., Law in Peace Negotiations (Torkel Opsahl, 2010) (With Sarah Zukerman)

For a complete list of publications




Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, "Here’s what Western leaders need to remember about Zelensky’s emotional appeals", March 21, 2022

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."