Brett Ashley Leeds
Alma mater
  • Karl Deutsch Award, ISA
  • Lifetime Achievement Award in Conflict Processes, APSA
Scientific career

Brett Ashley Leeds is an American political scientist. She is a professor of political science at Rice University, where she has also been the chair of the department. She studies how domestic politics affect international conflict and cooperation, as well as international institutions. She specializes in how alliances between countries function, and how they help countries prevent wars.[1]

Early work and education

Leeds attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earning a BA in political science in 1991.[2] She then attended graduate school at Emory University, earning a PhD in 1998.[2] Her dissertation, Comprehending Cooperation: Credible Commitments and International Relations, won the 1998 Walter Isard Award from the Peace Science Society for the best dissertation in Peace Science.[3]

In 1997, Leeds became a professor of political science at Florida State University, remaining there until 2001 when she moved to the faculty at Rice University.[2] She spent the 2005–2006 academic year at Stanford University.[2]


Leeds has published peer-reviewed articles in journals like the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, and International Studies Quarterly.[4] Her work has focused on both the design and the effects of military alliances: she studies how governments structure security commitments, what determines whether or not leaders subsequently abide by those commitments, and how that affects military conflicts.[5]

In 2015, Leeds was elected President of the International Studies Association for the 2017–2018 term.[6] The following academic year she was elected President of the Peace Science Society.[7]

In 2019, Leeds was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Conflict Processes Section of the American Political Science Association.[8] Leeds also won the 2019 Herman Brown Distinguished Scholar Award from Texas Christian University, which recognizes a political scientist for outstanding scholarship and contributions to the discipline.[1] Previously, Leeds was the recipient of the 2008 Karl Deutsch Award from the International Studies Association,[9] which recognizes "significant contribution to the study of International Relations and Peace Research".[9]

Work by Leeds has been cited in media outlets including The Washington Post,[10] Vox,[11] and Foreign Affairs.[12]

Selected works

Selected awards


  1. ^ a b c Capper, Marley (28 February 2019). "Rice University professor speaks to students about the politics of military alliances". Texas Christian University. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "Brett Ashley Leeds". Rice University. 2020. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Walter Isard Award past winners". Peace Science Society. 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Meet The New Council Members: Brett Ashley Leeds". American Political Science Association. 17 February 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Rice political scientist recognized with lifetime achievement award". Rice University. 9 September 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  6. ^ McCaig, Amy (18 December 2015). "Leeds voted president of International Studies Association". Rice University. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Christian Davenport Elected President of Peace Science Society (International)". Prio. 9 May 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  8. ^ a b "2019 APSA Organized Section Awards". PS: Political Science & Politics. 52 (4). American Political Science Association: 838–858. 2019. doi:10.1017/S1049096519001550. S2CID 233340619. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  9. ^ a b c "Karl Deutsch Award". International Studies Association. 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  10. ^ Schultz, Kenneth (31 May 2017). "Allies can't rely on America like they used to. And not just because of Trump". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  11. ^ Beauchamp, Zack (12 July 2018). "How Trump is killing America's alliances". Vox. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  12. ^ Ikenberry, G. John (May 2014). "The Illusion of Geopolitics". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 24 March 2020.