Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs

The George Washington University

Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E St. NW, Suite 605

Washington, D.C.  20052
(202) 994-7859

Spring 2014 Office Hours: Tuesday, 10:00am - 12.00pm

Alexander B. Downes (Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2004) is Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at The George Washington University. Downes has broad interests in international security and the study of political violence both between and within states, including the causes and effectiveness of civilian victimization in warfare; the consequences of foreign-imposed regime change for achieving states' goals, as well as the effects of foreign-imposed regime change on target states; the determinants of military effectiveness; and potential solutions to civil wars. Downes's book Targeting Civilians in War was published by Cornell University Press in 2008 and won the Joseph Lepgold Prize awarded by Georgetown University for best book in international relations published in that year. The book argues that civilian victimization is a function of desperation to win and to conserve on military casualties in costly and protracted wars of attrition, and the desire to eliminate actual or potential threats to control over territory in wars of territorial annexation. Targeting Civilians in War previously won the Helen Dwight Reid Award for best dissertation in international relations, law, and politics in 2006 from the American Political Science Association. Downes has held fellowships at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University (2007/08); the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University (2003/04); and the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, Harvard University (2002/03). His work has been funded by the Eisenhower Institute, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research. Before joining the GW faculty, he was Assistant Professor of Political Science at Duke University from 2004-2011. Downes's work has appeared in the journals Civil Wars, International Organization, International Security, Journal of Conflict Resolution, SAIS Review, and Security Studies, as well as in multiple edited volumes..