The Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program recognizes an exceptional group of both established and emerging scholars, journalists, and authors with the goal of strengthening U.S. democracy, driving technological and cultural creativity, exploring global connections and global ruptures, and improving both natural and human environments.
Sharon Weiner is an associate professor and director of doctoral studies at the School of International Service at American University. Her research, teaching, and policy engagement is at the intersection of organizational politics and U.S. national security. Her current work focuses on civil-military relations and on nuclear weapon programs and nonproliferation but she also pursues research and teaching interests in international security and U.S. relations with South Asia. She is currently finishing a book on U.S. civil-military relations and the organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and working on a project that looks at the political economy of plutonium in the United States. She holds a PhD in Political Science from MIT’s Security Studies Program.
As a tenured professor, the Fellowship will impact my career by giving me space to think more broadly, be more innovative, and tackle harder challenges. The Fellowship allows me to be more ambitious in my research.”
What research topics do you primarily focus on? How can people access your work?
Weiner: My project for the Carnegie Fellowship is to better understand how the United States has translated the concept of deterrence into specific decisions about nuclear strategy and force structure, why specific options were selected but not others, and how certain options went from being choices to “requirements.” I’ll do this by placing key decisions within the social, bureaucratic, political, and historical context within which they were made. My goal is to help us better understand decision making for both national security but also nuclear weapons.
Do you have any advice for students in political science, including tips on how to find funding and support for research projects?
Weiner: We get used to talking about our research in a few specific ways and as a consequence don’t see the fit between a particular project and a funder’s goals. Sometimes one research project can be cast in multiple ways. Students in political science need to practice translating their research into multiple narratives. Of course it is always important to be true to the goals that motivate your research, but it is also important to become skilled at explaining that research to multiple different audiences through a narrative that each audience understands and values.
How will the Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program impact your research and overall career?
Weiner: The Carnegie Fellowship allows me to have a sustained focus on one particular hard research puzzle. Certainly teaching has informed and enriched my research and writing, but sometimes there is a research challenge that requires more brain power and, for me at least, fewer competing claims on my time. The Carnegie Fellowship gives me a unique opportunity to devote the next two years to one research project. Hopefully, at the end of this time I’ll have advanced our understanding about nuclear weapons decision making and deterrence. As a tenured professor, the Fellowship will impact my career by giving me space to think more broadly, be more innovative, and tackle harder challenges. The Fellowship allows me to be more ambitious in my research.
- Read more about Sharon Weiner here
- See full announcement: Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program Recognizes 31 Scholars