University of South Carolina

Harvey Starr

Professor tapped to lead top international organization

By Peggy Binette,, 803-777-5400

A USC political scientist who has shaped the study of war and conflict processes and geopolitics during the last 40 years of turbulent world change will be taking a more peaceful path.

Harvey Starr, the Dag Hammarskjold Professor in International Affairs, has been voted president-elect of the International Studies Association (ISA), the largest and most respected international studies organization in the world. He will serve as its president in 2013-2014.

“I’m extraordinarily pleased to represent ISA and its diverse and vibrant community of scholars,” Starr said. “The university’s representation will help get South Carolina out there and help our graduate students with their placement and expand their opportunities for attending and presenting at conferences.”

Founded in 1959, the organization has more than 5,000 members from 80 countries. Respected by students, Starr learned from several of his own professors the importance of inspiring students to explore and find their passion.

At age 16, the Queens native entered SUNY Buffalo with a tireless work ethic and a love for ancient history.

That was where he met history professor Theodore Friend, who later became the president of Swarthmore College, and game theorist Glenn Snyder. Both influenced him profoundly. Friend further ignited his love for history; Snyder introduced him to the field of international relations, which broadened his interests in world affairs.

“I came to see political science as a better way of integrating all these concepts about people, countries and decision making,” Starr said.

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude at age 20, Starr headed to Yale because it was regarded as the top political science department in the country and had a cutting-edge, social science-focus. There that he met Bruce Russett, one of the top international relations scholars in the world.

Russett mentored Starr, who himself has become a distinguished scholar in international relations.

A prolific author, Starr has written more than a dozen books and monographs and 90 articles that have broadened modern understanding of geopolitics during a time in which the Berlin wall tumbled, the Cold War ended, political ideologies shifted, China emerged as a dominant economic power and mobile technology evolved as a vehicle for empowering citizens.

Starr joined USC’s faculty in 1989, having previously taught at Indiana University. He was chairman of the political science department in the College of Arts and Sciences from 1998 – 2006.

He is the second USC professor to be selected ISA president. Charles Kegley, professor emeritus, served in 1993. Only Harvard and Ohio State have had three faculty members to lead the ISA.

Starr says in addition to exploring new publications, the ISA will focus greater attention on women and diversity as well as professional development and professional rights and responsibilities. Its “International Studies Quarterly” is considered by many to be the premier journal in the international relations.


News and Internal Communications

Posted: 03/23/12 @ 9:30 AM | Updated: 04/16/12 @ 2:43 PM | Permalink
  • Professor Starr’s “support for me as a student and throughout my career as a professor has meant a great deal to me ... Twenty years later, I rely on the knowledge imparted to me in 1993 every day as I conduct my own research. And I try to model his supportive teaching and mentoring approach when I work with law and graduate students here at UT."

    ~ Stefanie Lindquist: Interim dean, A.W. Walker Centennial Chair in Law, University of Texas Law School, Austin, Texas


  • “Dr. Starr was instrumental in forming me as a social scientist. Inside and outside of the classroom, he was always ready to advise me on substantive questions, but also on the profession and my role in it. As he led by example, I hope I will be able to emulate him in passing on the lessons he so passionately passed on to us.”

    ~ Susanne Schorpp -- postdoctoral research associate, Washington University, St. Louis.



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