Catherine Harrison

Tower Chair in International Politics
Southern Methodist University (SMU)

Professor of International Politics, with a focus on military intervention and security multilateralism

I hold the John G. Tower distinguished chair in international politics and national security as an associate professor at Southern Methodist University (SMU).  My research and teaching interests revolve around the politics and ethics of military intervention and multilateral cooperation in international security affairs.

I am the author of Reassuring the Reluctant Warriors: U.S. Civil-Military Relations and Multilateral Intervention, published in 2015 with the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs series. The book argues that America’s uniformed leaders, who are predominantly “reluctant warriors” and value international legitimacy as a catalyst for burden sharing, play an underappreciated role in steering U.S. policy on military intervention toward engagement with multilateral bodies. My research has also appeared in a variety of peer-reviewed journals, including International Studies Quarterly, International Theory, the Journal of Politics, the Journal of Strategic Studies, and Security Studies

My next book, forthcoming with Yale University Press, explains how military interveners can obtain UN Security Council approval, when veto-wielding permanent members such as Russia and China are at first hesitant or opposed. I investigate “hard cases” for UN approval from the 1990s and 2000s, drawing on hundreds of recently declassified documents, and identify lessons that may be helpful to would-be interveners in the current period of increased great-power competition. 

I received a PhD in political science from Columbia University (with distinction) and hold a Master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science. I have been awarded numerous fellowships and grants in support of my research, including from the Brookings Institution, Fulbright Commission, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Rotary Foundation, European Commission, and Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme. Before moving to SMU, I was a tenured faculty member at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

My name is pronounced as /stɛ́fəno /rɛ́kiə/

Recently published

SMU - Tower Center for Public Policy and International Affairs
SMU - Department of Political Science