Jeremy Backstrom

Jeremy Backstrom, PhD

  • Assistant Professor
Media Expertise:
  • Politics & Government
  • International Relations

Affiliated Programs


  • PhD, Political Science (2016)
    University of North Texas (TX)
  • MA, Political Science (2004)
    Villanova University (PA)
  • BS, Political Science and History (2001)
    Texas A&M University--Commerce (TX)

About Me

My interests in political science originated during my experiences in the United States Air Force while stationed at Incirlik, AB, Turkey. The political complexities of Turkish politics, the issue of terrorism with the Kurdistan Worker's Party, and the dichotomy of US foreign policy regarding the Kurds fascinated my interests in teaching and researching international relations and comparative politics. When I started my undergraduate work, I was fortunate to have a professor and mentor who actively encouraged me to seek out answers to the questions from my experiences. Moreover, she promoted active engagement and interaction between the students and professor in the classroom.

These experiences greatly influenced my teaching philosophy, which concentrates on the development of critical thinking regarding concepts of political science from multiple perspectives. I practice an existential learning philosophy which is evident in the classroom learning environment, emphasizing diversity and inclusion where students from various backgrounds are able to express their own viewpoints and explore those of their peers. I incorporate a diverse teaching style to engage my students in their learning experience such as lecture, active discussions, debates, and simulations. I also incorporate perspectives from multiple fields outside of political science such as sociology, criminology, feminist theory, social justice, economics, and psychology.

In addition to critical thinking, my classes also heavily concentrate on the development of writing aptitude as both skills are integral to the development of students regardless of the course. These skills are beneficial for the student in their political science courses, courses in other disciplines, and their advancement in future endeavors outside of academia. I believe that this emphasis on writing skills, coupled with oratory skills and critical thinking play a critical role in the overall learning and development of the student.

I teach a range of courses related to International Relations and Comparative Politics. At Widener University and other institutions, I have taught international relations, comparative politics, current events in world affairs, the developing world, terrorism, revolutions and political violence, and Middle East Politics.

Research Interests

My primary research interests are in the fields of international relations and comparative politics, which focus broadly on three concepts- political violence, state repression and human rights, and authoritarian political institutions. I am particularly interested in disaggregating concepts and processes regarding political violence in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the causal mechanisms and dynamics that influence decision-making in different institutional contexts. More specifically, I seek to understand the actions and behaviors of non-state and state actors, determining the conditions and factors that contribute to the outbreak of dissent, terrorism, and civil conflict as well as methods to deter and quell these forms of political violence.


  • Breuning, Marjike, Jeremy Backstrom, Jeremy Brannon, Benjamin Isaak Gross, and Michael Widmeier. 2015. "Review Fatigue? Why Scholars Decline to Review their Peers' Work." P.S.: Political Science and & Politics 48(4): 595-600.
  • Chan, Victor Cheung Yin, Jeremy Backstrom, and T. David Mason. 2014. "Patterns of Protest in the People's Republic of China: A Provincial Level Analysis." Asian Affairs: An American Review 41(3): 91-107.
  • Ishiyama, John and Jeremy Backstrom. 2011. "Reconciliation and Conceptual Complexity: The Case of Post Conflict Kenya." African and Asian Studies 10(4): 366-386.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

International Studies Association, Peace Science Society, APSA

In the Media