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Karen Ruth Adams, Associate Professor, International Relations

Location: Liberal Arts 353
Hours: T 5:15-6:30, Th 1:30-3:00 & by appt

Phone: 406-243-2461, ext. 1


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


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.


  • 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