Middle East expert Bernie Kaussler wins inaugural Cinquegrana


by Ciara Brennan ('17)


SUMMARY: Dr. Bernd Kaussler, professor of political science, has been awarded the first Cinquegrana Presidential Chair of Faculty Teaching Excellence and Research to conduct research on proxy war and civilian victimization in Yemen, and work with students to create a human security map.

Dr. Bernd Kaussler, a professor of political science at James Madison University, has been selected for the inaugural Betty Coe (’64) and Paul J. Cinquegrana Presidential Chair of Faculty Teaching Excellence and Research.

The Cinquegrana Presidential Chair is chosen by the President from among full-time faculty members who have earned tenure and the rank of full professor. Recipients are awarded $40,000, half of which is to fund a research or teaching project and the other half of which is to be used as a stipend.  

I was absolutely thrilled — still am,” said Kaussler upon learning he was selected for the honor. “It allows me to embark on some very exciting and important research in my field. I could not do this without this award.”  

An expert on the Middle East, Kaussler earned his PhD in International Relations from the University of St. Andrews and has taught at JMU for thirteen years. His research focuses on Middle East security, U.S. foreign policy, international security, political trends in the Middle East, diplomacy and conflict resolution.

He has written and co-written two peer-reviewed books published by Routledge. His forthcoming book, coauthored with JMU communication studies professor Lars Kristiansen, Rhetoric and Governance under Trump: Proclamations from the Bullshit Pulpit will be published this year by Lexington Press. 

Not only does Kaussler provide expertise to government, media and private audiences, he combines his depth of knowledge with innovative and high-impact teaching practices in the classroom. In addition to teaching courses through JMU’s Department of Political Science and General Education program, Kaussler has helped establish and lead the Hacking for Defense and Hacking for Diplomacy courses through JMU X-Labs. 

A collaboration with Stanford University, these courses place the onus of solving complex, real-world problems on students and teach them to apply Lean Startup principles to meet the needs of clients, such as NATO, the U.S. Army, U.S. Airforce and Department of Homeland Security.

Kaussler speaks with a team of students in the Hacking for Diplomacy course during a presention to client NATO at TIDE Sprint in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

This year, Kaussler will conduct new research on proxy war and civilian victimization in the civil war in Yemen. He will begin the year conducting field research in the Persian Gulf, where he will interview government ministers, officials and politicians to uncover new insights about the nature of proxy wars in Yemen. When Kaussler returns to campus, he will kickstart the second part of his research project: the Yemen human security map.  

“I would like to hire an interdisciplinary group of students to set up an interactive online map based on Google Maps to list and pinpoint conflict events, alleged war crimes, displaced persons and destroyed settlements/cities in Yemen.” This site would be hosted by JMU’s College of Arts and Letters and be accessible to the public. 

Kaussler projects that the human security map will be "an exciting and important new addition to the library’s digital scholarship project.” It will “not only make cutting-edge scholarship and use of new technologies and methods accessible to the public, but also showcase transdisciplinary student research.” 

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Published: Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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