Dr Adam Quinn

Dr Adam Quinn

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

Contact details

+44 (0)121 414 5313
+44 (0)121 414 3496
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, having previously worked as a Lecturer the University of Leicester. He obtained his doctorate at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2008. He became Senior Lecturer in International Politics in 2013.

His primary area of interest is American grand strategy, especially the relationship between America's relative power in the international system and its internal ideological debates over foreign policy. He is also interested in International Relations theory, especially realist approaches. His first 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. 

Dr Quinn is currently the leader of an ESRC Seminar Series on 'The Future of American Power', which will take place during 2013-14. This is 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 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 was founding editor of the BISA magazine, International Studies Today, and of its USFP working group counterpart, Argentia, 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 attended the US-UK Strategic Dialogue, co-convened by Chatham House and the Council on Foreign Relations in 2012 and 2013


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:

  • 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 co-superviser for:

  • Andris Banka, 2nd year, 'Drone warfare and the erosion of the norm against targeted assassination'


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 American power and world order, and the consequences of American relative decline. 

Other activities

Administrative responsibilities

Director of Research, School of Goverment and Society

Leader of the School delegation to the Harvard National Model United Nations conference.

Host of the Politics @ Birmingham podcast series.


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

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

Book chapters

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


  • 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