I am a PhD candidate in the program for Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California.
I study international responses to civil and interstate conflicts. My dissertation focuses on the decisions of states to move towards and away from recognition of secessionist, separatist, and self-determination movements. I am developing a formal model of foreign policy decisions that legitimize self-determination movements, collecting data on individual state decisions to move towards recognition of new states, and selecting cases to explore. Through my projects, I have maintained an interest in North African and Middle Eastern affairs. The region is unfortunately very volatile, but it does provide ample opportunity to study conflict from all its angles.
I also study research methods, teaching a graduate math boot camp for my program and an undergraduate course introducing social science research methods.
Incidentally, I grew up in a large missionary family between southern Colorado and the big island of Hawai'i, I love classic cars and motorcycles, woodworking, and acoustic music, and I used to be a professional photographer.
Each of the following conference and working papers can be downloaded as PDF by clicking on the title.
Huddleston, R. Joseph. Working Paper: “Booed Off Stage: Syria, the US, and Triangulation of Audience Costs.” Prepared for the 2014 MPSA Conference
Through analysis of the Obama administration’s 2013 policy crisis concerning intervention in the Syrian civil war, I test audience cost theory. This case—including an explicit military threat made publically by an unconstrained democratic leader—represents a clear test of audience cost theory. The events that played out in the Syria case provide decisive evidence for a need to refine our definition and theoretical expectations of audiences during foreign policy crises, compelling narrower tests of audience costs that account for public preference and temporal variance.
Huddleston, R. Joseph. Working Paper: “Sahrawi Refugee Youth between Ambition and Identity.”
Through 17 interviews with Sahrawi youth in the Algerian refugee camps, I find that Sahrawi youth have come to individually embody the national cause, naming national liberation as their personal goal. They see themselves as self-reliant and individualistic in certain ways, but are willing to sacrifice the individual identity for the sake of the collective. This is most evident in these interviews in the way they sometimes consider opportunity to leave the camps for an easier life: many Sahrawi have been prone to reject them, preferring to stay in the camps because leaving may be viewed as betrayal of the national cause.
Huddleston, R. Joseph. Working Paper: “Western Sahara, Self-Determination, and the Shadow of Violence.”
The track record of state decisions to recognize the right to self-determination of Western Sahara reveals an interesting and potentially troubling tendency. States tend only to recognize movements for self-determination when violence is present. When violence ceases, not only does recognition cease, but states even begin to “derecognize” nascent liberation movements.
Huddleston, R. Joseph. Working Paper: “Audience Costs among Swing Voters.”
This is an experimental design aimed at testing audience costs among voters who switch from election to the next. This project will approach predicting the electoral consequences of presidential empty threats by blocking for “swing voters,” who actually hold the potential to inflict costs by voting for candidates of different parties from one election to the next. Additionally, it will test whether “backing down” is in fact the source of disapproval; it will do so by testing voters’ reactions to a president who indicates that he will stay out, but then gets involved anyway.
Huddleston, R. Joseph. Working Paper: “Before the Last Domino: Refining Rivalry.”
In this essay, I outline the concept of rivalry as it currently stands, its foundational elements and evolution, and I propose a broader conceptualization of rivalry that promises to explain armed conflict between states that previous models fail to recognize as resulting from rivalry. I evaluate the current working definitions and conceptualizations of interstate rivalry, and I outline the utility of the concept of rivalry for explaining conflict, asserting that, in seeking to explain conflict, rivalry cannot be defined only by conflict, as current authors continue to do.
Instructor—2014-2015—Methods Boot Camp, POIR, USC
Teacher and Counselor—2010–2012—Group Two-in-One, Tustin, CA
English Teacher—2008—Madrasa as-Salaam, Tindouf, Algeria
University of Southern California—May 2017—POIR PhD program
Chapman University—May 2011
Faculty Research Assistant—2014–2015—Dr. Benjamin Graham, POIR, USC
Faculty Research Assistant—2013–2014—Dr. Laurie Brand, POIR, USC
Editing Intern—2012–2012—Mada al-Carmel Arab Center for Applied Social Research, Haifa, Israel
Faculty Research Assistant—2011–2012—Dr. Angeliki Kanavou, Peace Studies, Chapman University
Laboratory Research Assistant—2009–2011—Henley Social Research Laboratory, Chapman University
Research Fellow—2010—Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)—Los Angeles, CA