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Dr. Lynn M. Tesser, CSC

Dr. Tesser is an Associate Professor of International Relations who joined CSC in 2013 after spending several years teaching and researching in post-conflict societies. Her expertise lies at the intersection of international relations (IR), comparative politics, and history with a focus on nationalism, forced migration, and state proliferation, and a regional specialization on Central and Eastern Europe.  Prof. Tesser’s early research focused on why EU enlargement may exacerbate nationalist politics, culminating in Ethnic Cleansing and the European Union (Palgrave 2013). 

Prof. Tesser’s articles have appeared in East European Politics and Societies, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, and Geopolitics, among others, and her latest think tank report “Europe’s Pivotal Peace Projects: Ethnic Separation and European Integration” was written for the Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies.  Fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, Fulbright Commission, and the MacArthur and Mellon Foundations, among others, funded a significant portion of this research.  Her present book project introduces recent historiography on empires to studies of secessionism and state proliferation as well as IR work on international order.

During her career, Prof. Tesser has been affiliated with universities in the U.S., Poland, Germany, Finland, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Cyprus.  She was a Visiting Fellow at the European University Institute (2019), a Research Fellow at the University of Helsinki’s Aleksanteri Institute for Russian and Eastern European Studies (2011), and an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the International University of Sarajevo (2008-10) as well as at the American University, Girne-Cyprus (2011-12).  Prof. Tesser also taught at American University’s School of International Service (2004-05) and Loyola University Chicago (2003-04) after serving as a SSRC Berlin Program Fellow at the Free University of Berlin (2001-02), a non-resident Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of World Politics (2001-02), a CASPIC MacArthur Fellow at the University of Chicago (2000-01), a DDRA Fulbright Scholar at Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland) (1999-2000), and won a Grodzins Prize Lectureship at the University of Chicago (2002). 

 In 2008, Dr. Tesser contributed to an evaluation of the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System embedding social scientists with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  She has also served as a Program Officer at the U.S. Institute of Peace (2006-07), a Research Associate at the Center for American Progress (2006), and was a Research Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2004).


  • B.A. (Political Science), Reed College, 1993
  • A.M. (Political Science), University of Chicago, 1997
  • Ph.D. (Political Science), University of Chicago, 2003

Research Interests:

  • State-making and International Order
  • Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict
  • Forced Migration and Nation-Building
  • Ethnographic Approaches to Security Studies
  • Post-Conflict Reconstruction
  • Balkans Politics and Security
  • European Politics and Security

Recent Publications:


Ethnic Cleansing and the European Union:  An Interdisciplinary Approach to Security,
Memory, and Ethnography
(in the series on Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies) Palgrave
Macmillan, May 2013


Refereed Articles in International Journals:

•  “Identity, Contingency, and Interaction:  Historical Research and Social Science Analysis of Nation-State Proliferation,” Nationalities Papers 47 (3) (2019):  412-428

•  “Ethnic Hierarchies and the Shifting EU Schengen Border in the Post-Cold War Era,” Epiphany, Vol. 6, No. 2 (2013):  183-204

•  “Exporting EU Liberalism Eastwards,” Epiphany, Vol. 2, No. 1 (2009):  1-21

•  “East-Central Europe’s New Security Concern:  Foreign Land Ownership,” Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Vol. 37 (2004):  213-239

•  “The Geopolitics of Tolerance:  Minority Rights Under EU Expansion in East-Central Europe,” East European Politics and Societies, Vol. 17, No. 3 (2003):  483-532

•  “European Integration and the Legacy of the Post-Second World War German Expulsions in East-Central Europe,” Geopolitics, Vol. 4, No. 3 (1999):  91-119

Additional Publications:

•  “Europe’s Pivotal Peace Projects:  Ethnic Separation and European Integration,” Report from the Swedish Institute of European Policy Studies (2015).  Available at:

• “Prospects for a Successful Peace Process in Nepal:  Internal and International Perspectives,” USIPeace Briefing, U.S. Institute of Peace (2007).  Available at:

• “Is Freedom Still on the March in Ukraine?,” with Peter Ogden, Mother Jones (14 April 2006). 
Available at: http://motherjones.com/politics/2006/04/freedom-still-march-ukraine

•  Review of The Europeanization of Central and Eastern Europe, edited by Frank Schimmelfennig and
Ulrich Sedelmeier (Cornell University Press, 2005), Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 58, No. 2 (2006):  311-312


Fellowships and Awards:

  • University of Helsinki’s Aleksanteri Institute for Russian and Eastern European Studies Fellowship (2011)
  • Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Research Grant (2004, 2007)
  • University of Chicago Grodzins Prize Lectureship (2002)
  • SSRC Berlin Program Dissertation Fellowship (2001-2002)
  • ACLS East European Studies Program Dissertation Fellowship (2001-2002) (declined)
  • Institute for the Study of World Politics Dissertation Fellowship (2001-2002)
  • Council for the Advanced Study of Peace and International Cooperation Dissertation Fellowship  (MacArthur Foundation) (2000-2001)
  • Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship (1999-2000)
  • Fulbright IIE/USIA Fellowship (1999-2000) (declined)
  • Andrew W. Mellon ‘First Year’ Dissertation Fellowship (1998)
  • German Academic Exchange Service Scholarship (1997)
  • Foreign Language Enhancement Program Scholarship (1997)
  • University of Chicago Fellowship (1995-1999)

Associate Professor of International Relations