Douglas Atkinson

Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Award 2019

Douglas Atkinson earned a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Cardiff in Wales, United Kingdom, after completing his Ph.D. in political science and international affairs in 2018. Many scholars of international conflict argue that war onset, duration and termination can be explained largely by countries’ relative strength. But this approach doesn’t fully account for the issues over which war occurs. Atkinson undertakes in-depth case analyses that explore how government leaders use issues to signal their resolve for potential conflict or war. He explores which issues countries fight about, how leaders introduce those issues into a conflict or war, which trade-offs between issues might exist and how the net effect of a constellation of issues might influence conflict behavior. He is now exploring how to classify issues in possible orders of importance, which remains a complex task, but this approach offers the field a significant advancement over existing research.