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Professor Scroggs joins IA department

Visiting Assistant Professor of International Affairs Matthew Scroggs is one of two new faculty members in the International Affairs (IA) department. Scroggs spent much of his childhood on the West Coast and was excited at the opportunity to move back. Teaching at Lewis & Clark has provided him with the ability to be close to family and continue his passion for research and education around policy.

Scroggs began his journey at the University of Washington, where he double-majored in political science and international studies.

“I was initially interested in politics from the standpoint of domestic policy,” Scroggs said. “I was interested in how domestic politics in uenced the decisions that states made, primarily East Asian countries.”

His focus later shifted towards structural factors in international relations. This led him to seek his master’s degree in international relations from the University of Chicago. Scroggs then went on to the University of Virginia in pursuit of a Ph.D. His research focused on coercive diplomacy and how states use threats of violence and sanctions in order to get what they want. During his time there Scroggs published “Ballots and Blackmail: Coercive Diplomacy and the Democratic Peace” with Michael Poznansky, where they highlighted the ways democratic peace in uences diplomacy. He also published a paper with LC’s very own Assistant Professor of International Affairs Suparna Chaudry and Cornell University’s Assistant Professor of Government Sabrina Karim, titled “How Leaders’ Experiences and Rebellion Shape Military Recruitment During the Civil War.” This paper discussed coercive recruitment strategies state leaders adopt during civil wars.

In his teaching, Scroggs primary areas of focus are international security and U.S. foreign policy. Over the course of the academic year, Scroggs will teach two courses in the IA department: U.S. Foreign Policy in the fall and Middle East Politics in the spring. These courses have traditionally been taught by Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences Cyrus Partovi who, this year, is teaching a class on Middle East Politics in addition to Studies of Diplomacy. Outside of IA, he also teaches Politics of Numbers, a course that is a part of LC’s new first-year seminar Words and Numbers.

Although his position is not tenured and there is no certainty about how long he will be at LC, Scroggs expressed a desire to be on Palatine Hill as long as possible. As his teaching style is one where he focuses on “allowing students to play a more active role in shaping the discussion (and research),” Scroggs aims at doing research with students. At the previous institution where he taught, Scroggs worked alongside and mentored one of his students. In Politics of Numbers, Scroggs sets aside a week for the students to decide the topic that he teaches. He believes it is important to include students’ interests in their education.

Scroggs is thrilled to work at LC and engage with students. Despite the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, he is excited to immerse himself with the campus’ culture this year.

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