Patricia A. Weitsman

Patricia Ann Weitsman (October 23, 1964 – March 30, 2014) was an American political scientist and international relations professor at Ohio University where she was also Director of War and Peace Studies.[1] She specialized in security studies and international relations theory, especially on topics related to military alliances.[2]

Life's Work and Career

Weitsman attended Indiana University as an undergraduate and spent one year during that time at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.[3] She did her graduate studies at Columbia University, resulting in M.A., M. Phil., and Ph.D. degrees, the last coming in 1994.[2][3] She was a pre- and post-doctoral fellow at the Graduate Institute for International Studies in Geneva.[3]

She began at Ohio University in 1995. There she developed a reputation for teaching, winning the College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award in 1997, the campus-wide University Professor honor in 1997–98 and again in 2000–01 and the Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award in 2008.[4][5] In 2009 she was the Ohio University Graduate Commencement Speaker.[2][6] She was also nominated for the Statewide Excellence in Education Award by Ohio Magazine.[4] She noted that working with students was vitally important to her as it lightened her feelings given the "very dark" subject matter of her research.[6] In 2010, Weitsman created a new interdisciplinary War and Peace Studies major, as well as a certificate program under that name, within the university's Center for International Studies.[2][5] She became Director of War and Peace Studies in 2012.[2]

Weitsman's 2004 book Dangerous Alliances: Proponents of Peace, Weapons of War analyzed military alliances as not just a means by a state to protect against threats from other countries, but also to improves ties with a particular nation (she termed it "hedging") or to manage conflict with a particular nation (she termed it "tethering").[7] It used case studies from European history during the 1873–1918 period and sought to synthesize previous scholarly research on alliance formation and cohesion into a more robust theoretical framework that incorporated realist, rationalist, and institutionalist thinking on the subject.[8] The book was heavily reviewed in academic journals, with scholars generally praising the work as a valuable contribution to the study of alliances while sometimes taking issue with particular points or judging that the work did not fulfill all of its ambitions.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14] For one, Joseph M. Grieco wrote that it was an "original and thoughtful analysis ... and contributes greatly to our understanding of alliances and their impact on war and peace."[7] Nicholas Onuf said that her emphasis on "tethering" was a valuable new concept validated by her historical survey.[13] Dangerous Alliances was a finalist for several book prizes.[6]

Her second book, Waging War: Alliances, Coalitions, and Institutions of Interstate Violence, was published in 2014. It sought to establish a theoretical model for how coalition warfare in Iraq and elsewhere had affected the U.S. projection of power.[15] She also published a number of articles in scholarly journals on various topics, including ones on sexual violence and identity in war which covered events such as rape during the Bosnian War and rape during the Rwandan Genocide.[5][16]

Weitsman was very active in the 1,400-member International Security Studies Section (ISSS) of the International Studies Association (ISA); the section is the world's largest association of security studies scholars.[2] She was elected to its governing board in 2006 and was selected as its vice chair in 2009.[2] She then served as its chair from 2011 to 2013.[17] During her time as chair, the section became the largest within the ISA.[5] The section's annual Patricia Weitsman Award for Outstanding ISSS Graduate Paper is named in her honor.[18] A panel session honoring her contributions to the field was held at the 2015 ISA Conference in New Orleans.[19]

Personal Life and Health

Weitsman was married to Daivd L. Hoffmann (professor of Russian History at Ohio State University) with two children. Weitsman lived in Lancaster, Ohio.[20] In 2010 she was diagnosed with life-threatening myelodysplastic syndrome.[2][20] She received a bone marrow transplant for it in 2011, went into remission and was able to resume work.[21] But the disease returned as leukemia in 2013 and she succumbed to it in 2014 at age 49.[1][2]


  • Politics of Policy Making in Defense and Foreign Affairs: Conceptual Models and Bureaucratic Politics (Third Edition, Prentice Hall, 1993) [co-assistant with Laura Gaughran for author Roger Hilsman]
  • Towards A New Europe: Stops and Starts in Regional Integration (Praeger Publishers, 1995) [co-editor with Gerald Schneider and Thomas Bernauer]
  • Enforcing Cooperation: "Risky" States and the Intergovernmental Management of Conflict (St. Martin's, 1997) [co-editor with Gerald Schneider]
  • Dangerous Alliances: Proponents of Peace, Weapons of War (Stanford University Press, 2004)
  • Waging War: Alliances, Coalitions, and Institutions of Interstate Violence (Stanford University Press, 2014)


  1. "Obituaries: Patricia Ann Weitsman". The Athens News. April 1, 2014.
  2. "University Mourns Dr. Patricia Weitsman, Political Science Professor". Ohio University. April 3, 2014.
  3. "Director, War and Peace Studies: Patricia Weitsman". Ohio University. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  4. "Recent Faculty Awards". Ohio University. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  5. Parker, Jay (April 18, 2014). "News From ISA – In Memoriam – Patricia Ann Weitsman". International Studies Association.
  6. "Noted professor, author to give keynote". Ohio University. June 8, 2009.
  7. Grieco, Joseph M. (Fall 2004). "Dangerous Alliances: Proponents of Peace, Weapons of War by Patricia A. Weitsman". Political Science Quarterly. 119 (3): 540–541. doi:10.2307/20202407. JSTOR 20202407.
  8. Pressman, Jeremy (Summer 2005). "Dangerous Alliances: Proponents of Peace, Weapons of War by Patricia A. Weitsman". The Journal of Interdisciplinary History. 36 (1): 80–81. doi:10.1162/0022195054026194. JSTOR 3656874.
  9. Krebs, Ronald R. (September 2004). "Dangerous Alliances: Proponents of Peace, Weapons of War by Patricia A. Weitsman". International Studies Review. 6 (3): 496–498. JSTOR 3699714.
  10. Duffield, John S. (Winter 2005). "Patricia A. Weitsman: Dangerous Alliances: Proponents of Peace, Weapons of War". The Review of Politics. 67 (1): 177–179. JSTOR 25046398.
  11. Ritter, Jeffrey M. (March 2005). "Dangerous Alliances: Proponents of Peace, Weapons of War by Patricia A. Weitsman". Perspectives on Politics. 3 (1): 210–211. doi:10.1017/s1537592705720144. JSTOR 3688170.
  12. Wirtz, James J. (February 2007). "Dangerous Alliances: Proponents of Peace, Weapons of War". The Journal of Politics. 69 (1): 257–259. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2508.2007.00513.x. JSTOR 10.1111/j.1468-2508.2007.00513.x.
  13. Onuf, Nicholas (September 2005). "Patricia A. Weitsman. Dangerous Alliances: Proponents of Peace, Weapons of War". The International History Review. 27 (3): 694–696. JSTOR 40109668.
  14. Gartzke, Erik (September 2005). "Weitsman, Patricia A., 2004. Dangerous Alliances: Proponents of Peace, Weapons of War". Journal of Peace Research. 42 (5): 650. doi:10.1177/0022343305056239. JSTOR 30042405.
  15. Fontenot, Georgory, Col. (ret.) (September 2014). "The 'Science' of Joint Warfighting" (PDF). ARMY Magazine. 64 (9). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-02-14.
  16. Weitsman, Patricia A. (August 2008). "The Politics of Identity and Sexual Violence: A Review of Bosnia and Rwanda". Human Rights Quarterly. 30 (3): 561–578. doi:10.1353/hrq.0.0024. JSTOR 20072859.
  17. "ISSS Governance and Leadership". International Studies Association. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  18. "Patricia Weitsman Award". International Studies Association. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  19. "ISA's 56th Annual Convention: ISA 2015 Program" (PDF). International Studies Association. p. 131. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  20. Heagney, Meredith (February 11, 2011). "He'll be a charitable man". The Columbus Dispatch.
  21. "Patricia Weitsman to discuss her life saving bone marrow transplant on Wednesday". Ohio University. August 23, 2012.
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