Kiron Skinner-Social and Decision Sciences - Carnegie Mellon University

Kiron Skinner

Associate Professor, Social and Decision Sciences

Office: BP 223F
Phone: (412) 268-3238
Fax: (412) 268-6938
Administrative Assistant: Rosa Stipanovic
Alternate Contact: Phone: (412) 268-6971, Email:


Ph.D.: Harvard University


My substantive focus is the role of the United States in the ending of the Cold War. I examine this issue at several levels. From the "bottom up," I analyze the political activities of conservative foreign policy groups and social movements that sought to recast U.S. grand strategy in the direction of rearmament in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. From the "top down," I examine the Soviet policy of the United States during the 1970s and the 1980s. Relatedly, I examine the strategic interaction of the superpowers on key security issues such as nuclear arms control.

There are several theoretical homes for my work. My bottom up research seeks to contribute to research in social history by providing the field with empirical data on a set of social forces (conservative movements) and issue-areas (such as national security policy) that have received little scholarly attention in the social history arena. To see if there are causal links between conservative foreign policy groups and to U.S. foreign policy and international outcomes more generally, I use some of the analytic tools of theoretical research on group behavior found in the political science sub-field of American politics.

My top down research uses game theoretic lenses and insights from positive political theory to make sense of the strategic interaction of the superpowers during the final decades of the Cold War. My historical research is based on my use of the archives of several members of the Reagan administration. I seek to refine notions in the traditional international relations literature about the conditions under which adversaries cooperate. My work should also point the way for those interested in the possibilities of cross-fertilization between historical research and positive political theory.


Kiron K. Skinner, ed., Turning Points in Ending the Cold War, Hoover Institution Press, 2008.

Kiron K. Skinner, Serhiy Kudelia, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, and Condoleezza Rice, Strategy of Campaigning: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Boris Yeltsin, University of Michigan Press, 2007.

Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson, and Martin Anderson, eds., Reagan, A Life in Letters, The Free Press, 2003.

Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson, and Martin Anders, eds. Reagan, In His Own Voice (audio book), Simon and Schuster, 2001.

Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson, and Martin Anderson, eds., Reagan, In His Own Hand, The Free Press, 2001.


Center for International Relations and Politics