Assistant Professor, Political Science Department
Phone: (920) 424-0435
Office: Sage Hall 4622
I became interested in politics in the late 1970s, with the heating up of the Cold War and the Solidarity movement in which my parents participated. The suppression of Solidarity by the Polish government landed my family in political exile in the United States. Two years after the arrival, I entered college and enlisted in the US Army Reserve. When the Cold War came to an end, I became an arms control inspector (still with the Army, but on active duty) for former Soviet states. After several years of nuclear tourism I left the military to enter graduate school after which I landed a job at the Monterey Institute of International Studies doing policy research on nuclear arms control and proliferation. It became clear that to actually deal this and other problems, one had to well and truly understand the politics of it, which is how I ended up in school again, pursuing a Ph.D. Even then I did not expect to end up as a professor of anything, but merely to collect my Ph.D. and go back into the policy world. But, over time, I found myself being strongly drawn to the basic, rather than applied, research side of my studies, which implied an academic career, which is how I ended up at UWO. Here at UWO I study and teach violent political conflict in nearly all its forms, and all that relates to it (which is to say, a great deal), and I couldn’t think of a more effective way in which I could help deal with that problem.
Since I was clearly interested in things political, it was obvious what my major ought to be: History. At that time, for some reason Political Science was not on the radar screen for me, possibly due to indifferent experiences with US high school civics classes, and the rather dreadful way in which an American Government class that I took as an undergrad was taught.
When I returned to get a Master’s degree, I opted for the Russian and East European Studies program at the University of Kansas. It was an interdisciplinary program in which you took courses from History, Political Science, Economics, Geography, Literature, and other disciplines, provided they in some way dealt with that particular region of the world. Apart from introducing me to the joys of interdisciplinary studies (an experience which is reflected in my current approaches to both teaching and research), in the process of completing that degree I took a graduate seminar on Political Psychology which finally closed the sale. After several more years of work at the Monterey Institute of International Studies I decided to go back to school to pursue a Ph.D., which could only be in Political Science.
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