Maxwell School

Gavan Duffy

Associate Professor, Political Science


Contact Information

513 Eggers Hall
(315) 443-5764


Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1987


Political methodology, political conflict, international relations

Personal Website


PSC 129  American National Government & Politics (Honors)

PSC 356  Political Conflict

PSC 694 Qualitative Political Analysis

PSC 754 International Conflict and Peace


“Changing the Rules: A Speech Act Analysis of the End of the Cold War.” International Studies Quarterly.  53 (2009): 325-347, with Brian K. Frederking.

“Insecurity and Opportunity in Conflict Settings.” In Bruce W. Dayton and Louis Kriesberg, eds., Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding: Moving from Violence to Sustainable Peace. New York: Routledge, 2009, pp. 107-122.

"Testing Sincerity: Henry Kissinger's Opening Encounter with the Chinese Leadership." Journal of Language and Politics. 7 (2008): 1-30, with Evelyn Goh.

"Pragmatic Analysis." In Audie Klotz and Deepa Prakash, eds., Qualitative Methods in International Relations: A Pluralist Guide. Houndsmills: Palgrave MacMillan, 2008, pp. 168-186.

Research Projects

Professor Duffy’s pragmatic analysis is a method for analyzing the contents of political texts.  It applies the inferential techniques of linguistic pragmatics to recover implicit contents of such texts. These implicit contents serve as inputs to formal models of the practical reasoning of political actors. Professor Duffy and several former students have published pragmatic analyses of the US-Soviet INF negotiations, constitutional debates in Canada and Belgium, and Henry Kissinger's early diplomatic encounters with Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai.  Pragmatic analysis has also been extended to the analysis of the rules systems that constitute security regimes.

With his work on political conflict, Professor Duffy has extended early work on conflict processes, showing how these interact with the incentives that leaders distribute to constituents in efforts to mobilize conflict participation. In turn, this work shows how these mobilization efforts later hamstring leaders' efforts to settle conflicts.  Professor Duffy is now engaged in research to tie these insights to political opportunity structures, or the regime-systemic constraints that encourage contending groups to adopt peaceable or violent means to settle disputes.

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