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Faculty Image Karen Ruth Adams
Office: Liberal Arts 353
Phone: 406-243-2461, ext. 1
Curriculum Vita: View/Download CV



I teach and write about international relations and human, national, and international security.  My research has three streams:

--Developing and using a new framework to measure, explain, and improve human, national, and international security.

--Enhancing the understanding and application of international relations theory, methods, and data.

--Providing opportunities for conversation and collaboration among security scholars, policy makers, practitioners, and citizens.

I have published articles and chapters on the causes of war, the political-military effects of the technological offense-defense-deterrence balance, and the causes, conduct, and consequences of the US wars in Kosovo and Iraq.  I am finishing a book on human, national, and international security.  

In 2014, I was named a “super forecaster” in the Good Judgment Project, a four-year study of international geopolitical forecasting.  I have written and been interviewed about my experience as a female subject matter expert, and I have briefed members of the US defense and intelligence community on my approach to security forecasting.   

In 2015, I received UM's Tom Boone Town and Gown Award for my 10-year service as faculty advisor to the Montana Model UN high school conference and travelling team.

I appear on KGVO News Talk radio to discuss international current events with local callers.  

Professional Biography  Download PDF

I tweet @karenruthadams

Office Hours:

T 5:15-6:30, Th 1:30-3:00 & by appt


  • Introduction to International Relations (PSCI 230)

  • International Security (PSCI 334)

  • International Law and Organizations (PSCI 433)

  • Graduate Seminar in International Relations (PSCI 530)


Ph.D.   University of California, Berkeley, Political Science, 2000

M.A.     University of California, Berkeley, Political Science, 1989

B.A.      Stanford University, Political Science and Economics, 1986

Selected Publications:

  • “Structural-Realism:  The Imperialism of Great Power,” in Jennifer Sterling-Folker, ed., Making Sense of International Relations Theory, 2nd ed. (Boulder:  Lynne Rienner, 2013).  [Causes of the 2003 US conquest of Iraq]  Link to contents.  Download PDF

  • “The Causes of War,” in Robert Denemark et al. eds. The International Studies Encyclopedia (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).  [International Studies Association International Studies Compendium Project/International Studies Online]  Link to contents.  Download PDF.  

  • “Structural-Realism:  The Consequences of Great-Power Politics,” in Jennifer Sterling-Folker, ed., Making Sense of International Relations Theory, 1st ed. (Boulder:  Lynne Rienner, 2005). [Effects of state weakness on Yugoslavian vulnerability to civil and international war]  Download PDF.  

  • "Attack and Conquer?  International Anarchy and the Offense-Defense-Deterrence Balance,” International Security 28:3 (Winter 2003/04), pp. 45-83.  Link to journal.  Link to codebook and dataset.

Policy Pieces

  • "Reflections of a (Female Subject-Matter Expert) Superforecaster," Good Judgment Project blog, 1 October 2014.  Link to article.  

  • “North Korea Raises the Stakes,” Women in International Security Issue Brief, Winter 2007 (coauthored with Kimberly Hannon).  Download pdf.

  • Montana Model UN committee and topic background guides, more than 60 since 2008, also used by Teton County Model UN, Sciences-Po Rennes, and other conferences and programs.  Link to most recent MMUN guides.  

Invited Lectures

  • “Forecasting International-Political Events,” briefing for members of the US defense and intelligence community, including the Defense Language and National Security Education Office and the National Geospatial Agency, 20-21 January 2015.

  • “Measuring Human, National, and International Security,” Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center Faculty Colloquium, University of Montana, April 2013.

  • “Teaching Strategic Studies to Undergraduates,” Summer Workshop on Strategic Studies, Philip Merrill Center, Johns Hopkins University, Basin Harbor

Additional Courses

  • American Foreign Policy (PSCI 335)

  • Model United Nations (PSCI 337)

Special Offerings

  • Food and Politics, Summer 2005

  • War and Politics in Europe, LSU in Paris, Summer 2003