Lee Receives 2019 Inaugural Emerging Scholars Global Policy Prize

Aug 07 2019
By Morgan C. Tucker
Source Woodrow Wilson School

The Perry World House’s Inaugural Emerging Scholars Global Policy Prize 2019 recipient is Melissa M. Lee, assistant professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Under the theme, “The Future of the Global Order: Power, Technology, and Governance,” Lee’s original essay, “Subversive Statecraft: The New Face of Great Power Conflict,” was chosen for its academic research in global policy studies and its aim to influence policy debates.

The essay focuses on foreign subversion, when a country seeks to advance its own foreign policy interests by keeping neighboring countries weak, and its impact on global power conflicts. Lee aims to show policymakers that great power conflicts will play out through foreign subversion and not solely through traditional warfare.

“My goal in writing the essay is to show that the commonly held distinction between threats from great power conflict and threats from weak states is a false and unhelpful one,” Lee said. “Subversion exists at the intersection of the international and the domestic, but once we enlarge our understanding of conflict, policymakers will be better equipped to counter its threat.”

Lee’s research focuses on the influence of external actors on state building and state development. She also studies the domestic and historical determinants of state strength. Lee recently won the 2016 American Political Science Association’s Helen Dwight Reid Award for best dissertation in the field of international relations, law, and politics.

Lee spent the past year on sabbatical, working on a forthcoming book, “Crippling Leviathan,” which will be published by Cornell University Press in April 2020. The book argues that the practice of foreign subversion leads to the territorial deconsolidation of the state.

Perry World House is a part of the University of Pennsylvania and is an organization for global affairs and policy impact. The inaugural prize is given to advance the recipient’s academic research and allows the recipient to work with Perry World House to have their piece published.