Dr Adam Quinn

Dr Adam Quinn

Department of Political Science and International Studies
Associate Professor in American and International Politics

Contact details

POLSIS - School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Adam Quinn is a scholar of American foreign policy and grand strategy. He is particularly interested in contests of ideas within the United States regarding the nation's status, interests, and role in the world. He also talks and teaches about both American politics and international security more generally. 

He has previously held various management roles in the School of Government, including Research Director and REF Lead. He is currently the School's Head of Communications. 



  • 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 areas of interest are the politics, grand strategy and foreign policy of the United States. He is especially interested in intra-American debates over the role and status of the United States in the world order.  His book, US Foreign Policy in Context: National Ideology from the Founders to the Bush Doctrine (2010), was about the National Security Strategy of the George W. Bush administration and its place in the longer story of American thinking about international order. 

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 an alumnus of the US-UK Fulbright programme's Summer Institute hosted by New York University (2009) and the US State Dept’s Study of the United States Institute hosted by Bard College (2018). He has been an occasional contributor to events convened by the Chatham House North America programme, such as 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 Research, REF Lead, and head of doctoral research. He is currently Head of Communications on the management team for the School of Government.


Dr Quinn is a convenor of the following modules:

  • Global Security (undergraduate final-year)
  • US Foreign and Defence Policy (postgraduate level)

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Quinn welcomes enquiries from those wishing to undertake doctoral research in the following areas:
• United States foreign policy and grand strategy
• United States politics

Those with a serious interest in pursuing PhD research are encouraged to consult me directly by email. and to include a detailed a research proposal. For guidance on what a good research proposal should contain, please see the departmental guidance available online


Research and academic interests

  • US foreign policy and grand strategy
  • American politics and history
  • Theories of International Relations and Security

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

Host of the Political Worldview podcast.

Social Media Presence

Facebook feed: Adam Quinn

Twitter: @adamjamesquinn

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


Recent publications


Quinn, A 2010, US Foreign Policy in Context: National Ideology from the Founders to the Bush Doctrine. Routledge studies in US foreign policy, Routledge.


Quinn, A & Banka, A 2018, 'Killing norms softly: US targeted killing, quasi-secrecy and the assassination ban', Security Studies, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 665-703. https://doi.org/10.1080/09636412.2018.1483633

Quinn, A & Kitchen, N 2018, 'Understanding American Power: Conceptual clarity, strategic priorities and the decline debate', Global Policy. https://doi.org/10.1111/1758-5899.12609

Quinn, A 2014, 'Does the Flaw Lie within Us? Classical Realism and Unrealistic Policy', Global Society, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 241-265. https://doi.org/10.1080/13600826.2014.888335

Quinn, A 2013, 'Kenneth Waltz, Adam Smith and the Limits of Science: Hard choices for neoclassical realism', International Politics, vol. 50, no. 2, pp. 159-182. https://doi.org/10.1057/ip.2013.5

Quinn, A 2011, 'The art of declining politely: Obama's prudent presidency and the waning of American power', International Affairs, vol. 87, no. 4, pp. 803-824. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2346.2011.01005.x

Quinn, A 2010, 'Language, Truth and Logic: the battle to preserve meaning in International Relations', Geopolitics, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 124-133. <http://news-business.vlex.com/vid/truth-logic-international-relations-229267655>

Quinn, A 2008, '"The Deal": The Balance of Power, Military Strength, and Liberal Internationalism in the Bush National Security Strategy', International Studies Perspectives, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 40-56. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1528-3585.2007.00315.x


Quinn, A 2018, Realisms. in A Gheciu & W Wohlforth (eds), The Oxford Handbook of International Security. Oxford Handbooks of International Relations, Oxford University Press, pp. 71-85.

Quinn, A 2016, Restraint and constraint: a cautious president in a time of limits. in M Bentley & J Holland (eds), The Obama Doctrine: a legacy of continuity in US foreign policy. Routledge Studies in US Foreign Policy, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 26-39.

Quinn, A 2016, The domestic foreign policy debate and its limits. in M Aaltola & A Kronlund (eds), After Rebalance: Visions for the future of US foreign policy and global role beyond 2016. vol. 46, The Finnish Institute of International Affairs , pp. 23-37. <http://www.fiia.fi/en/publication/599/after_rebalance/>

Quinn, A, Berenskoetter, F, Toje, A & Kunz, B 2012, Hegemony by invitation: neoclassical realism, soft power and US European relations. in Neoclassical Realism in European Politics: Bringing Power Back InAsle Toje and Barbara Kunz (eds) (Author, Editor). Manchester University Press, Manchester and New York, pp. 214-233.

Quinn, A & Maass, M 2009, Admiration Reborn: The British View of the US Presidential Election. in The World Views of the US Presidential Election.

Book/Film/Article review

Quinn, A 2012, 'The decline and fall of the American republic', International Affairs, vol. 88, no. 2, pp. 449-451.

Other report

Quinn, A 2015, Obama’s National Security Strategy: predicting US policy in the context of changing worldviews. The Royal Institute of International Affairs. <http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/field/field_document/20150109ObamaNationalSecurityQuinn.pdf >

View all publications in research portal


Dr Quinn has experience providing analysis on television and radio, local and national. He has also written short commentary pieces for several online publications.

Please contact me by email at any time with enquiries


Media experience

Writes regularly for the commentary website The Conversation

Appeared as an expert commentator on Al Jazeera English's Inside Story

Dr Quinn occasionally provides quotations for articles in the mainstream press, including The Telegraph


Foreign, Security and Development Policy

  • US politics and foreign policy