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Checkel, Jeffrey T(aylor) 1959-

CHECKEL, Jeffrey T(aylor) 1959-


Born 1959. Education: Cornell University, B.S. (applied physics), 1981; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ph.D. (political science), 1991.


Office—University of Øslo, Department of Political Science, P.O. Box 1097, Blindern, Øslo N-0317, Norway. E-mail—[email protected]


Educator and author. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, assistant professor of political science, 1991-96; University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany, visiting scholar, 1996-98; University of Øslo, Øslo, Norway, research professor of international politics, 1998-2001, professor of political science and research professor, 2001—.


John M. Olin scholar, Radio Free Europe, 1992; research and development grant, Social Science Research Council/Joint Committee on Soviet Studies, 1992-93; fellowship, International Research and Exchanges Board, 1993-94; research fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, 1996-98; international organization grant, Academic Council on the United Nations System/American Society of International Law, 1997; research fellowship, German Marshall Fund, 1998-99.


Ideas and International Political Change: Soviet/Russian Behavior and the End of the Cold War, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1997.

Contributor of articles to scholarly journals, including Comparative Political Studies, Journal of European Policy, International Studies Quarterly, European Union Politics, and World Politics. Also contributor to books, including Soviet-East European Survey, 1986-87, edited by Vojtech Mastny, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1988; The Making of Foreign Policy in Russia and the New States of Eurasia, edited by Karen Dawisha and Adeed Dawisha, M. E. Sharpe (Armonk, NY), 1995; Transforming Europe: Europeanization and Domestic Change, edited by James Caporaso, Maria Cowles, and Thomas Risse, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 2001; The Social Construction of Europe, edited by Thomas Christiansen, Knud Erik Joergensen, and Antje Wiener, Sage (Thousand Oaks, CA), 2001; The Rules of Integration: Institutionalist Approaches to the Study of Europe, edited by Mark Aspinwall and Gerald Schneider, Manchester University Press (Manchester, England), 2001; Altered States: International Relations, Domestic Policies, and Institutional Change, edited by Andrew Cortell and Susan Peterson, Lexington Books (Lanham, MD), 2002; and The Maze of Fear: Security and Migration after September 11th, edited by John Tirman, New Press (New York, NY), 2004. Member of board of editors for International Organization and Journal of International Relations and Development, 2003—.


Between Norms and Power: Identity Politics in the New Europe and (Re-) Joining Europe? Socialization and European Institutions.


An expert on postwar Soviet and Russian political history, Jeffrey T. Checkel has earned distinction for his analysis of government policymaking and institutional change during the administration of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Credited as one of the first scholars to discern the importance of Gorbachev's "new thinking" during the mid-1980s, Checkel advanced a rigorous social scientific approach to the study of Soviet foreign policy in an effort to identify the structural and historical forces behind Gorbachev's policy shift and, consequently, the end of the cold war.

In Ideas and International Political Change: Soviet/Russian Behavior and the End of the Cold War, Checkel presents his argument and theoretical model through case studies of Soviet-Russian leadership under Leonid Brezhnev, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Boris Yeltsin. Checkel suggests that many of the foreign policy plans implemented by Gorbachev were not necessarily new, but rather were the product of specific internal and external conditions that provided new windows of opportunity. During the 1980s, according to Checkel, as the Soviet Union faced significant external crises—notably war in Afghanistan, strategic defense threats from the United States, and disruptions in Poland—Gorbachev was compelled to entertain new conceptual approaches that, in turn, entered through enlarged channels of reformist leadership facilitated by Gorbachev.

Commenting on Ideas and International Political Change in the American Political Science Review, Vidya Nadkarni praised Checkel for providing "a novel way of integrating domestic—and international—level variables." According to Nadkarni, Checkel offers important insight into the far-reaching influence of Russia's Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) and the Institute of the USA and Canada (ISKAN). Cynthia A. Roberts, writing in Europe-Asia Studies, criticized Checkel's theoretical model for overstating the significance of ideas and institutional processes over the role of individual leaders as dynamic forces of change. Roberts stated, "In too many places the analysis is wooden and seems crafted to fit his theoretical model which problematically stresses the linkage of external pressures on internal policy processes." But Nadkarni commended Checkel's work as "a rich and useful supplement to the existing literature on the conceptual revolution in Soviet foreign policy."



American Political Science Review, June, 1999, Vidya Nadkarni, review of Ideas and International Political Change: Soviet/Russian Behavior and the End of the Cold War, p. 478.

Europe-Asia Studies, January, 1998, Cynthia A. Roberts, review of Ideas and International Political Change, p. 165.

Foreign Affairs, July-August, 1997, Robert Legvold, review of Ideas and International Political Change, p. 160.


University of Øslo Web site, (July 9, 2004), "Jeffrey T. Checkel."*

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