Kathryn Sikkink

Kathryn Sikkink

Fellow: Awarded 2008

Field of Study: Political Science

Competition: US & Canada

Website: http://www.polisci.umn.edu/people/profile.php?UID=sikkink

Kathryn Sikkink is the Regents Professor and Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the political science department at the University of Minnesota. Since 2001 she has also been an affiliated faculty member in the Law School there.

Ms. Sikkink joined the University of Minnesota faculty in 1988, immediately after receiving her Ph.D. from Columbia University. Yet she was hardly a neophyte in the political science field. In 1980-81, she served as a staff associate at the Washington (D.C.) Office on Latin America, and the following year as a research assistant at the United Nations’ Centre on Transnational Corporations. Simultaneous with her graduate work at Columbia University, she gained further expertise as a visiting researcher at the Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad (CEDES) in Buenos Aires (1985) and the Instituto Universitario de Pequisa in Rio de Janeiro (1986). Her work in South America was supported by a Fellowship from the Institute for the Study of World Politics (1984), an SSRC International Doctoral Research Fellowship (1985-86), and a Doherty Fellowship for Advanced Study in Latin America (1985-86).

She returned to the U.S., completing her dissertation while a visiting fellow at Yale University’s Center for International and Area Studies. She developed her dissertation into her first book, Ideas and Institutions: Developmentalism in Brazil and Argentina (Cornell UP, 1991; Spanish ed.: Buenos Aires: Siglo Veintiuno Ed., 2008).

At the University of Minnesota she expanded the scope of her studies, adding researches in human rights ideas to her previous work in political economy. One product of this, Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (Cornell UP, 1998), which she coauthored with Margaret Keck, won in 2000 the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order and the International Studies Association Chadwick Alger Award for best book in the area of international organizations; it has also been translated into Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese. Supported by a grant from the Twentieth Century Fund (1995-96), she explored in her next book the origins and effectiveness of U.S. human rights policy as expressed in its Latin American foreign policy: Mixed Signals: U.S. Human Rights Policy and Latin America (Cornell UP) was published in 2004. Ms. Sikkink has also coedited (with Thomas Risse and Stephen Ropp) The Power of Human Rights: International Norms and Domestic Change  (Cambridge UP, 1999) and (with Sanjeev Khagram and James Riker) Restructuring World Politics: Transnational Social Movements, Networks, and Norms (U of Minnesota Press, 2002), and she has written over three dozen articles (cited over 3,000 times). In 2001 she was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the following year she was elected a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

During her Guggenheim Fellowship term, Kathryn Sikkink studied the origins and effects of human rights trials in the world.