Dr Adam Quinn

Dr Adam Quinn

Department of Political Science and International Studies
Senior Lecturer in International Politics

Contact details

Department of Political Science and International Studies
School of Government and Society
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham,
B15 2TT, United Kingdom


PhD, International Relations (London School of Economics)

MA (Hons), first class, Philosophy and Politics (Glasgow)


Dr Quinn joined the POLSIS Department as a lecturer in January 2009, and became senior lecturer in 2013. He previously worked as a Lecturer the University of Leicester, 2007-08. He received his PhD from the London School of Economics in 2008, and his first degree from the University of Glasgow in 2001.

His primary area of interest is American politics, grand strategy and foreign policy. He is especially interested in intra-American debates over the role and status of the United States in the world order. He is also interested in International Relations theory, especially realist approaches. His book, US Foreign Policy in Context: National Ideology from the Founders to the Bush Doctrine (2010), sought to locate the National Security Strategy of the George W. Bush administration within the long-term context of American thinking about international order. See below for details of other publications.

He was leader of an ESRC Seminar Series, 'The Future of American Power', during 2013-14, in collaboration with the LSE, Chatham House, University of Warwick and City University, London. He was convenor of the US foreign policy group of the British International Studies Association (BISA) 2008-12, and convened its annual conference twice, in Oxford and Birmingham. He convened the US foreign policy section of the general conference of the European Consortium on Political Research (ECPR) in 2009 and 2011. He served as a trustee and executive committee member of BISA in 2010 and 2011. He is a Fellow of the Transatlantic Programme at the LSE IDEAS research centre. He is an alumnus of the US-UK Fulbright programme's Summer Institute hosted by New York University, which he attended in July-August 2009. He is a regular contributor to events convened by the Chatham House North America programme, include attended the US-UK Strategic Dialogue, co-convened with the Council on Foreign Relations.

He has occupied a number of management roles since arriving at University of Birmingham, including School Director of Doctoral Research and research lead for Political Science and International Studies. He is currently School Director of Research and REF Lead.


I am convenor of the following modules:

  • POLS 310 – US Foreign and Security Policy
  • POLS G23 – US Foreign and Defence Policy (graduate level)

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Quinn welcomes enquiries from those wishing to undertake doctoral research in the following areas:

  • United States foreign policy
  • United States politics
  • International Relations theory
  • Case-study based theory-building

Those with a serious interest in pursuing PhD-level research are welcome to consult me directly by email. It would be helpfulif you include as detailed a research proposal as possible with your message. For guidance on what a good research propoposal should contain, please see the departmental guidelines available here.

Dr Quinn has previously supervised three Doctoral Researchers to successful completion:

  • Andris Banka, 2nd year, 'Drone warfare and the erosion of the norm against targeted assassination'
  • Andrew Futter (2011), 'The evolution of the US ballistic missile defence debate, 1989-2010'.
  • Mark McClelland (2012), 'The unbridling of virtue: neoconservatism between the Cold War and the Iraq War.
  • Jonna Nyman (2014), 'Energy and security: discourse and practice in the US and China'

He is currently the  primary supervisor for:

  • Conor McKenna, Cyber technology and the threshold for acts of war
  • Michael Fabos: US grand strategy in the early Cold War


Research and academic interests

  • United States foreign policy
  • International security
  • American history
  • International Relations theory

Current and recent projects

My current research focuses on debates surrounding US power, status and world order, especially arguments between differing ideological perspectives within the United States itself.

Other activities

Administrative responsibilities

Research Director and REF Lead, School of Government and Society, School of Goverment and Society

Host of the Political Worldview podcast.

Social media presence

Blog: www.beingrealistic.com

Facebook feed: Adam Quinn

Twitter: @adamjamesquinn

Views expressed through social media are my own and not those of my employer.



Quinn, A. (2010) US Foreign Policy in Context: National Ideology from the Founders to the Bush Doctrine, (London and New York: Routledge)

Journal articles

Banka, A. and Quinn, A (2018), ‘Killing Norms Softly: US targeted killing, quasi-secrecy and the assassination ban’, Security Studies, 27:4

Quinn, A. (2014), 'Does the Flaw Lie Within US? Classical realism and unrealistic policy', Global Society, 28:2, March, 241-265

Quinn, A. (2013), 'Kenneth Waltz, Adam Smith and the Limits of Science', International Politics, 50:2., pp. 159-182

Quinn. A. (2013). 'A House Divided’, Extended review article. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 26:1, April, 267-281

Quinn, A. (2011) ‘The Art of Declining Politely: Obama's prudent presidency and the waning of American power'. International Affairs, 87:4 July, pp.803-824

Quinn, A. (2010) ‘Language, Truth and Logic: the battle to preserve meaning in International Relations', Geopolitics, History and International Relations, pp.124-133

Quinn, A. (2008) ‘The Deal’: The balance of power, military strength and liberal internationalism in the Bush National Security Strategy. International Studies Perspectives, 9(1), Feb, pp.40-56

Quinn, A. and Cox, M. (2008) Renovating Realism. American Behavioral Scientist, 51(9), May, pp.1362-1369

Quinn, A. (2007) ‘The Great Illusion: Chimeras of Realism and Isolationism in Post-Iraq US Foreign Policy., Politics & Policy, 36(3), Sep, pp.522-547

Quinn, A. and Cox, M. (2007) ‘For Better, For Worse: How America’s Foreign Policy became Wedded to Liberal Universalism’, Global Society, 21(4), pp.499-519

Research papers

Quinn, A (2015), 'Obama’s National Security Strategy: Predicting US Policy in the Context of Changing Worldviews'. Chatham House, January

Book chapters

Quinn, A. (2018) ‘Realisms’, in Gheciu, A. and Wohlforth, W. (eds) Oxford Handbook of International Security, Oxford. Oxford University Press.

Quinn, A (2016) ‘Restraint and Constraint: a cautious president in a time of limits’, in Bentley, M. and Holland J, The Obama Doctrine, London. Routledge.

Quinn, A. (2014) ‘The United States’, in Mary Kaldor and Iavor Rangov (eds), Handbook of Global Security Policy London: Wiley-Blackwell

Quinn, A, (2014), 'Realism and US Foreign Policy', in Inderjeet Parmar, Linda B. Miller and Mark Ledwidge (eds), Obama and the World: new directions in US foreign policy

Quinn, A. (2013) ‘US Decline and Systemic Constraint’ in Jack Holland and Michelle Bentley (eds), Obama’s Foreign Policy: Ending the War on Terror, London: Routledge 

Quinn, A. (2012) ‘Theodore Roosevelt and the “Civilizing Mission”’, in Michael Cox, Nicholas Bouchet and Timothy Lynch, US Presidents and Democracy Promotion, London: Routledge

Berenskoetter, F, and Quinn, A (2012),'Hegemony by invitation: neoclassical realism, soft power and US–European relations' in Asle Toje and Barbara Kunz (eds) (Manchester: Manchester University Press), 

Quinn, A. (2009) ‘Admiration Reborn: The British View of the US Presidential Election’, in M. Maass, ed. The World Views of the US Presidential Election, London: Macmillan

Quinn, A. and Cox, M. (2008) Fear and Loathing in Brussels: The Political Consequences of European anti-Americanism.  In R. Higgott and I. Malbasic, eds. The Political Consequences of Anti-Americanism, London: Routledge,

Quinn, A. and Cox, M. (2008) Hard Times for Soft Power: America and the Atlantic Community. In D. Held and H. L. Moore, eds. Cultural Politics in a Global Age: Uncertainty, Solidarity, and Innovation, David Held and Henrietta L. Moore, (eds), Oxford: Oneworld. Ch.21

View all publications in research portal


  • US foreign and domestic policy
  • American politics

Please contact me by email at any time with enquiries


Media experience

I write regularly for the commentary website The Conversation

I have appeared as an expert commentator on Al Jazeera English's Inside Story

I have occasionally provided quotations for articles in the mainstream press, including The Telegraph


Foreign, security and development policy

US politics and foreign policy