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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 briefed members of the intelligence community on my approach to security forecasting.  I appear on KGVO News Talk radio to discuss international current events with local callers.  

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

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)

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


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, Vermont, June 2011.

  • “International Politics and the Emerging International-Political System,” Ho Chi Minh Academy, Hanoi, Vietnam, January 2010.

  • “The Future of the US as a Great Power,” UM College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Salon, Seattle, June 2008.

  • “Lesser Goods in International Relations:  How to Live in and Improve the World as It Is,” Honors Symposium, Flathead Valley Community College, Kalispell, Montana, March 2010.

Media Appearances

  • Interview, “Fortune telling: Crowds surpass pundits,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 4 February 2015.  Link to article.

  • Talk show guest, “Montana Model UN and Current International Events with Super Forecaster Karen Ruth Adams,” KGVO News Talk radio, 4 December 2014.  Link to podcast (90 min). 

  • Talk show guest, "Current International Events with Super Forecaster Karen Ruth Adams," KGVO News Talk Radio, 22 October 2014.  Link to podcast (90 min).

  • Interview, "UM Professor Earns Reputation for Forecasting World Events," Missoulian, 15 October 2014.  Link to article.

  • Interview, Syrian civil war, Montana Kaimin, 2 October 2013.  Link to article.  

  • Interview, 47th annual Montana Model UN High School Conference, KGVO radio, 19 November 2012.  Download recording.

  • Interview, Costs and benefits of US membership in the United Nations, Montana Public Radio, 1 October 2010.

  • Interview, Iranian nuclear situation, San Francisco Chronicle, 27 August 2006.  Link to article.

  • Panelist, "Iraq and National Security," PBS Newshour coverage of By the People citizen deliberation, 29 January 2004.  Download transcript.  Download summary.