Jim Butterfield, PhD

Professor Emeritus of Political Science

Western Michigan University

Department of Political Science

Mail Stop 5346

1903 W Michigan Ave

Western Michigan University

Kalamazoo, MI 49008


Curriculum Vitae


I was a political science professor for 35 years until my retirement in 2023, 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 were 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.

Fulbright Awards

Fulbright Specialist Award, based at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil, 2018.

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

Fulbright Specialist Award, Saratov State University, Saratov, Russia, 2014.

Fulbright Scholar Award, Saratov State University, Saratov, Russia, 2009-2010.


My research interests are in the areas of civil society, transitions, communism, and post-communist states. 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 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 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.