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Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs; Faculty Affiliate, Global Resilience Institute; Faculty Affiliate, Global Asian Studies Program

Risa Kitagawa is a political scientist specializing in transitional justice, human rights, and legacies of conflict. She examines the role of governments and non-state actors in addressing large-scale political violence and the impact of transitional justice on public opinion. Her research spans diverse countries in East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central America and appears in outlets such as World Politics, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and Conflict Management and Peace Science.

  • Education

    PhD, Political Science
    Stanford University

    BA, International Relations and French
    New York University

  • Contact

  • Address

    927 Renaissance Park
    360 Huntington Avenue
    Boston, MA 02115

  • Office Hours

    Monday 2pm-3pm (walk-ins)
    Thursday 4:30pm-5:30pm (by appointment)


Course catalog
  • Globalization and International Affairs

    INTL 1101

    Offers an interdisciplinary approach to analyzing global/international affairs. Examines the politics, economics, culture, and history of current international issues through lectures, guest lectures, film, case studies, and readings across the disciplines.

  • Introduction to Comparative Politics

    POLS 1155

    Presents a comparative study of political organization and behavior in a range of countries beyond the United States. Topics includes political culture, political economy, governing institutions, leadership, and political participation.

  • Explores various types of conflict settlements and their implications for peace and reconciliation. Why do civil wars break out in some places but not others? What does it take to start a revolution? Why do some conflicts last decades, and what can be done to mitigate their costs? Examines why civil conflicts begin, how they are fought, and how they end. Substantive topics include strategies of insurgency and counterinsurgency; the role of ethnicity, religion, and gender; and the relationship between economic factors and conflict. Students leverage fundamental concepts and theories in comparative politics to analyze civil conflicts in a wide range of country contexts.

  • Seminar in Comparative Politics

    POLS 7206

    Focuses on major research paradigms within comparative politics, including political culture, structuralism, and rational choice. Examines major research fields in the discipline, including democratization, nationalism, ethnic politics, political economy, and political parties.