Shifrinson Wins Lucian Pye Award

September 12, 2014

Joshua Shifrinson

Dr. Joshua Shifrinson has won the Lucian Pye Award for the outstanding PhD thesis given annually by the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Shifrinson earned his PhD at MIT in 2013 and is an assistant professor in the IA program at the Bush School.

The Pye Award was established in honor of the late Professor Lucian Pye, in recognition of his scholarly contributions to political science, and his significant role as a teacher and advisor of graduate students.

In past years, Pye Award winners have come from institutions around the country and the world such as the University of Chicago, Georgetown University, the University of Texas-Austin, and the Australia National University.

Shifrinson shared this year’s award with Michele Margolis, soon to be on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. At MIT, his research emphasis was on international relations and security studies. His dissertation focused on a central question undergirding American foreign policy: when and why do rising states use supportive rather than predatory strategies to manage declining great powers?

“Finding existing arguments wanting, I developed a theory arguing that rising state strategy is determined by whether the declining state can help the rising state maintain a balance of power,” said Shifrinson. 

His dissertation studies included significant historical research into the rise and decline of great powers, especially American policy toward the USSR at the end of the Cold War.

“This case was particularly important to the project, and I was privileged to gain access to President George H. W. Bush’s archives at the George Bush Presidential Library as well as interview over 50 senior policymakers from the Bush and Reagan administrations,” said Shifrinson.  “As new documents come to light, I am working to revise the history, add additional cases, and look forward to publishing a book that I hope will influence policymakers and scholars alike,” he added.


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