Allison Stanger

Russell J. Leng '60 Professor of International Politics and Economics

 work(802) 443-5023
 On Leave Academic Years 2017-2019
 on leave academic year

Allison Stanger is the Russell Leng ’60 Professor of International Politics and Economics at Middlebury College. Her most recent book, One Nation Under Contract: The Outsourcing of American Power and the Future of Foreign Policy, was published by Yale University Press in fall 2009 (paperback edition came out in January 2011).  Stanger has published op-eds on this topic in the Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, New York Times, and Washington Post, and in 2010 testified before the Commission on Wartime Contracting, the Senate Budget Committee, and the Congressional Oversight Panel. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  She was also a contributor to the Booz Allen Hamilton project on the World's Most Enduring Institutions, the Woodrow Wilson School Task Force on the Changing Nature of Government Service, and the Princeton Project on National Security.  She has served as an advisor to the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff, US Department of State and was on the writing team that produced the State Department’s December 2010 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR).

Stanger received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University. She also holds an AM in Regional Studies-Soviet Union (Harvard), a graduate diploma in Economics (London School of Economics), and a BS in Actuarial Science/Mathematics (Ball State University). She has studied foreign languages and literature at Charles University (Prague), the Sorbonne (Paris), and the Pushkin Institute (Moscow).

Professor Stanger is also the co-editor and co-translator (with Michael Kraus) of Irreconcilable Differences? Explaining Czechoslovakia's Dissolution (foreword by Václav Havel) and the author of numerous articles and essays.  Her research has been funded by the International Relations and Exchanges Board, the National Council for Soviet and East European Research, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Science Foundation, the Institute for the Study of World Politics, and the MacArthur Foundation. She has been a research fellow at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (Harvard University), Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education (Prague), the Institute for the Study of the USA and Canada (Moscow), the Brookings Institution (Washington, DC), and the Center for Science and International Affairs (Harvard University).  She has also served as visiting professor of Government at Harvard University.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1134 - Empires      

Why do empires rise and fall? Are "democracy" and "empire" always a contradiction in terms? Can imperialism be a good thing? For whom? Drawing on classical and contemporary sources, we will explore the origins and fates of empires from Ancient Greece to the present. We will start by reflecting on why Eurasia dominated the world prior to the twentieth century, rather than the other way around. We will then explore the similarities and differences in both the principles and practices of particular empires, as well as how those characteristics evolved over time. Special attention will be given to Rome, Britain, Austria-Hungary, the Ottomans, Russia/Soviet Union, and the United States. An overarching aim of this seminar is to view the global power of the 21st century United States in proper perspective. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW SOC

Fall 2014

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IPEC 0500 - Independent Project      

Independent Project
(Approval Required)

Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

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IPEC 0700 - Intl.Pol.&Economics SR. Thesis      

Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

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PSCI 0307 - Politics of Virtual Realities      

The Politics of Virtual Realities
How has technology changed our politics? Are those changes all for the good? In this course we will explore the political, legal, and normative implications of the Internet for liberal democracy. We start with the US Constitution and explore arguments that it cannot by itself prevent the Internet from becoming a domain of manipulation rather than of freedom. How can we uphold the ideals of liberty and equality? And, since cyberspace has no country, whose laws should govern it? Cases will include President Obama's campaign and governance strategies, Google's activities abroad, cybersecurity, virtual war, and the WikiLeaks controversy. 3 hrs. lect./disc. (International Relations and Foreign Policy)/ CW SOC

Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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PSCI 0311 - American Foreign Policy      

American Foreign Policy
Does America exercise its power in the world in a distinctive way? If yes, has it always done so? In this course we will examine the evolution of American foreign policy from the time of the founding to the present. As we make our way from the height of the Cold War to the 21st century, we will assess how leaders, institutions, domestic politics, and the actions and inactions of other countries have shaped American international behavior. Topics considered include terrorism, nuclear proliferation, globalization, democracy promotion, whether the rich US has an obligation to help the less fortunate, how much power the Pentagon should have, what role the private sector can and should play in advancing American interests, and the Bush revolution in foreign policy. A central aim of the course is to map competing perspectives so that the student can draw his or her own political conclusions. 3 hrs. lect./disc. (International Relations and Foreign Policy)/ AMR NOR SOC

Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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PSCI 0324 - Pol Development Western Europe      

The Political Development of Western Europe
In what ways are the political systems and politics of France, Germany, Italy, and Britain similar? In what ways do they differ? How might we explain these patterns? This course attempts to answer these questions through comparative investigation of the processes and consequences of economic and political modernization in these nations from the feudal period to the 21st century. 3 hrs. lect./disc. (Comparative Politics)/ CMP CW EUR SOC

Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017

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PSCI 0500 - Independent Project      

Independent Projects
A program of independent work designed to meet the individual needs of advanced students. (Approval required)

Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017

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PSCI 0700 - Honors Thesis      

Honors Thesis
(Approval required)

Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017

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PSCI 1154 - Crisis Diplomacy      

Crisis Diplomacy
So you want to be National Security Advisor? Crisis Diplomacy deploys the Council on Foreign Relations’ Model Diplomacy simulation suite to illuminate how American foreign policy gets made. We will together recreate the complex environment in which policymakers must operate, one that demands emotional intelligence, strategic vision, thoughtful analysis, and creative and concise arguments. Crisis scenarios will include Drones in Pakistan, Russia and NATO in the Baltics, and Humanitarian Intervention in South Sudan. Students will finish the course with a better understanding of the skills that are desirable for government careers in diplomacy and security. (International Relations and Foreign Policy)/ NOR WTR

Winter 2016, Winter 2017

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Curriculum Vitae

Microsoft Office document iconAllison Stanger Curriculum Vitae.doc

Press Release



In development: Consumers Versus Citizens: How the Internet Revolution is Remaking Global Security and Democracy’s Public Square.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Leaks: The Story of Whistleblowing in America (Yale University Press, under contract).

One Nation Under Contract: The Outsourcing of American Power and the Future of Foreign Policy (Yale University Press, 2009; paperback edition, 2011).

Irreconcilable Differences? Explaining Czechoslovakia's Dissolution (co-edited and co-translated with Michael Kraus), Foreword by Václav Havel (Rowman and Littlefield, 2000).

Recent Articles and Book Chapters

“Hired Guns: How Private Military Contractors Undermine World Order,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2015.

“The Hidden Costs of Outsourcing Diplomacy and Development,” Foreign Service Journal, February 2013.

“Transparency as a Core Public Value and Mechanism of Compliance,” Criminal Justice Ethics, vol. 31, no. 3, December 2012.

 “Contractors’ Wars and the Commission on Wartime Contracting,” in Christopher Kinsey and Malcolm Patterson, eds., Contractors and War: The Transformation of United States’ Expeditionary Operations (Stanford University Press, 2012). 

  “Prejudice and the Shadow of the Past in the Emergence of Cooperation,” in I. William Zartman, ed., Explaining Cooperation Among States (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

 “Guns for Fire,” Foreign Policy, August 18, 2010.

 Foreword to Richard Fontaine and John Nagl, Contracting in Conflicts: The Path to Reform, Center for a New American Security, June 2010.

 “Addicted to Contractors,” Foreign Policy, December 1, 2009.

Congressional Testimony

Testimony before the Congressional Oversight Panel, “Hearing on Treasury’s Use of Private Contractors”—September 22, 2010

Testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, Hearing on “Responsible Contracting: Modernizing the Business of Government”—July 15, 2010

Testimony before the Commission on Wartime Contracting, Hearing on “Are Private Contractors Performing Inherently Governmental Functions?”—June 18, 2010


Program in International and Global Studies

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Middlebury College
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