Weatherhead Research Cluster on International Security

Much scholarly and public attention is paid these days to nonconventional security challenges like civil conflicts, terrorism, and human security more broadly. Our cluster aims to revive the academic study of traditional interstate security studies at Harvard. This, however, is not a return to ‘old’ security studies nor a reproduction of policy-focused security studies. We are interested in employing new theories and methodologies that are relevant to understanding understudied features in traditional interstate security. Our focus is on three novel research lines:

1. The psychology of diplomacy and decision making in real-world conditions

  • How does collective decision making in foreign policy differ from individual decision making? 
  • How do individual-level characteristics aggregate in groups?

2. The impact of social media impact on the speed and intensity of security dilemmas and crisis behavior 

  • Does social media speed up the intensity of security dilemmas between states?
  • What are the implications of social media for how states defend sovereignty?
  • How can governments maintain restraint during interstate military crises if their societies are engaged in large-scale social media conflict?

3. The implications of nuclear multipolarity, new technologies, and geography, under post-Cold War conditions

  • How do perceptions of external threats interact with civil-military relations and organizational behavior to shape the ways in which nations handle nuclear weapons?
  • What lessons may be drawn from Cold War history?
  • How do multiple nuclear actors affect nuclear stability as an “emergent property”? 

 The Weatherhead Research Cluster on International Security is chaired by Professors Iain Johnston, Joshua Kertzer, and Stephen Rosen.

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