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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Bear Braumoeller

Mershon affiliate Bear Braumoeller is the recipient of the 2013-14 J. David Singer Book Award Committee for ISA-Midwest.  The award was given for Braumoeller's book The Great Powers and the International System: Systemic Theory in Empirical Perspective, published by Cambridge University Press in 2013. This award is given every other year to the author of an outstanding book published in the previous three years.

Braumoeller's book asks the question: Do great leaders make history? Or are they compelled to act by historical circumstance? This debate has remained unresolved since Thomas Carlyle and Karl Marx framed it in the mid-19th century, yet implicit answers inform our policies and our views of history. In this book, Braumoeller argues persuasively that both perspectives are correct: Leaders shape the main material and ideological forces of history that subsequently constrain and compel them.  His studies of the Congress of Vienna, the interwar period, and the end of the Cold War illustrate this dynamic, and the data he marshals provide systematic evidence that leaders both shape and are constrained by the structure of the international system

This book has also been the recipient of the International Studies Association's Best Book Award for 2014. It received an excellent review from H-Diplo, and was featured in Popular Science and National Geographic.

Braumoeller is associate professor of political science, specializing in international relations (especially international security) and statistical methodology.