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).  The latter book was named the Winner of the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN) Joseph Rothschild Prize in Nationalism and Ethnic Studies; Winner of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) Marshall Shulman Book Prize for outstanding monograph dealing with the international relations, foreign policy, or foreign-policy decision-making of any of the states of the former Soviet Union or Eastern Europe; Winner of the International Studies Association ENMISA (Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Section of the International Studies Association) Distinguished Book Award.  In collaboration with Austin Long and Jon Lindsay, he is currently working on a manuscript entitled “The Social Science Guide to the Iraq Conflict.”  He teaches courses on civil war, military intervention, civil-military relations, and ethnic politics.




Publications|Selected Publications

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) 




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."