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Gavan Duffy

Gavan Duffy

Contact Information:


315 Maxwell Hall

Gavan Duffy

Associate Professor Emeritus, Political Science Department


PSC 129: American National Government & Politics (Honors)

PSC 356: Political Conflict

PSC 694: Qualitative Political Analysis

PSC 754: International Conflict and Peace

PSC 793: Constructing the World Polity

PSC 794: Advanced Qualitative Political Analysis

Highest degree earned

Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1987

Areas of Expertise

Political methodology, political conflict, international relations

Research Grant Awards and 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, such as the Cold War. 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.

Selected Publications

"Justifying Transcultural International Studies."  Perceptions: Journal of International Affairs. 19 (2014): 135-152.

"Linguistic Models in International Studies." In Robert A. Denemark, ed., International Studies Encyclopedia. London: Blackwell, 2010. With Sean Miskell.

"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.