An academic community is akin to a living organism, shifting and changing over time. Throughout our twenty years, the Diplomacy faculty family has welcomed numerous faces from around the world and across the field. This fall, an avid researcher from the West Coast joins our ranks: Joseph Huddleston.
Receiving his Bachelor of Arts from Chapman University in Peace Studies, Huddleston is completing his Doctorate in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California, where he is focusing on international security, foreign policy and research methods. In addition to studying research design for the social sciences, Huddleston has taught these methods, leading university classes as well as a Graduate Math Boot Camp at USC. Drawing on his experiences as both a student and a professor, he is well equipped to help Diplomacy students craft clear research questions and carefully navigate the challenges associated with conducting social science research.
In his dissertation, "Legitimizing Self-determination: Advancing the Sovereignty of Separatist Movements," Huddleston examines how governments make foreign policy decisions toward countries facing active separatist movements that seek either full political secession or greater autonomy. He focuses on how third parties respond to violence in these conflicts and explains how self-determination, or, the right of a people to decide on its own form of government, complicates common understanding about the authority of state to exercise ultimate power within its territory. This complex relationship has also been the topic of his publications in the field, such as his articles on the Catalonian Independence movement for Foreign Affairs, and will be the focus of his first book. Huddleston has also shared his expertise by attending a variety of conferences, speaking on third-party recognition of separatist movements, new ideas about sovereignty, and foreign policy implications of Donald Trump's presidency. His detailed yet reader-friendly approach to analysis, and ability to unpack socially complex issues surrounding foreign policy in a public forum provide strong examples for students to emulate.
Huddleston is excited to engage with both undergraduate and graduate Diplomacy students starting this fall. He hopes to explore the possibility of creating a research lab where students can learn and practice research design and statistical analysis in a relaxed environment. More broadly, he hopes to help Diplomacy students to develop an appreciation for the process and presentation of original research in the field.
The task of demystifying research methods and their applications in international relations is no easy task. But, Huddleston is not only up to the challenge, he is energized by it. "I am humbled by the opportunity to join the excellent faculty at the School of Diplomacy," he says, "and I look forward to working with its bright, ambitious students."