Jim Butterfield, PhD

Professor of Political Science and

Allied Faculty in Global and International Studies

Western Michigan University

Department of Political Science

Mail Stop 5346

1903 W Michigan Ave

Western Michigan University

Kalamazoo, MI 49008



Curriculum Vitae


I have been a political science professor for over 30 years, all of it spent at Western Michigan University, a regional public institution with a diverse student body. Our department offers several undergraduate majors including a degree in international and comparative politics, a political science masters program, a masters of development administration, and a doctorate in political science. My instructional and teaching interests are in comparative politics and international relations. Various international education activities - including teaching, research, consulting, study abroad, partnership development and four Fulbright awards - have taken me to dozens of countries on six continents. For my work in leading globlal engagement efforts on campus, in 2021 I was awarded the Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.


PSCI 1050 Critical Thinking About Politics

PSCI 2500 International Relations

PSCI 3440 Russian and Central Asian Politics

PSCI 3500 American Foreign Policy

PSCI 3510 Terrorism and Political Violence

PSCI 6400 Democratization and Institutional Design

PSCI 6400 Civil Society and Social Movements


My research interests are in the areas of civil society, transitions, communism, and post-communist systems. I have generally focused on the former Soviet Union, particularly Russia and Central Asia, and on South Africa. I have solo or co-authored articles published in journals such as Comparative Politics, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, the Journal of Information Technology and Politics, Vestnik obschchestennogo mneniia (in Russia), Middle Eastern Critique, Comparative Economic Studies, Nationalities Papers, and the Journal of Peasant Studies, in addition to book chapters, an edited volume, and conference proceedings in Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

Visiting Positions

Visiting Lecturer, South-Central Minzu University, Faculty of Public Administration, Wuhan China, April 2017.

Visiting Fulbright Scholar, Faculty of International Relations, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, September 2016-January 2017.

Visiting Faculty, Kazakh Agro-Technical University, Astana, Kazakhstan, May 2013.

Visiting Fulbright Scholar, Department of Political Science, Saratov State University, Saratov, Russia, September 2009-April 2010.

Visiting Associate, Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town, South Africa, 2002-2003 and 2004.