Department of Political Science

Named 2015 College of Arts and Letters Department of the Year by students


Contact Information
Phone. (619) 594-6244
Fax: (619) 594-7302

Nasatir Hall 126
Mail Code: 4427
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego CA, 92182-4427
Office Hours: M-F 8:30-4:00

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Last Update: 9/4/15



Jonathan Graubart

Jonathan Graubart is Director of the International Security and Conflict Resolution Program, Chair of the Fred J. Hansen Institute for Peace Studies, director of the Charles Hostler Institute on World Affairs, and a professor of political science at San Diego State. He specializes in the areas of international relations, international law, the UN, normative theory, and resistance politics. Graubart received his Ph.D. in political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002 and his JD from UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall in 1989.

Graubart is the author of Legalizing Transnational Activism: The Struggle to Gain Social Change From NAFTA’s Citizen Petitions (Penn State University Press, 2008) and of multiple articles and book chapters. His recent publications include “David in Goliath’s Citadel: Mobilizing the Security Council’s Normative Power for Palestine” (European Journal of International Relations, co-authored with Arturo Jimenez-Bacardi),  “Taking Milosevic Seriously: Imperialism, Law and the Politics of Global Justice” (International Relations, co-authored with Latha Varadarajan), “R2P and Pragmatic Liberal Interventionism: Values in the Service of Interests” (Human Rights Quarterly), and “War is Not the Answer: R2P and Military Intervention,” as part of an edited volume by Cambridge University Press on Responsibility to Protect, made up of leading experts across the globe, including the co-authors of the original R2P doctrine. Graubart’s latest research assesses the legacy and continuing relevance of the dissenting, binationalist Zionists from Israel’s pre-state era, including such seminal figures as Hannah Arendt and Judah Magnes. His argument is that their insights and warnings offer valuable guidance for how to break out of the dangerous impasse in Israeli-Palestinian relations.

Prior to academia, Graubart experienced a varied professional career, which includes working for President Ronald Reagan (as an attorney at the US Treasury Department) and for Michael Lerner (as an editorial staff member at Tikkun Magazine). As a San Francisco attorney, Graubart engaged in plaintiff's-side civil litigation against perpetrators of securities fraud (his first case being against Walt Disney) and worked pro bono in the areas of poverty law and asylum law for political refugees from Central America.

Graubart has pursued a number of professional interests in his life. He was a fisherman, a factory worker, and a circus promoter (though he never succeeded at his attempts to develop a juggling act). He also briefly wrote sermons for his birth father, an itinerant Baptist preacher (sometimes getting ideas from his adopted father, a rabbi).

Graubart has four children, Emma, Bakunin, Rosa, and Goliath. His eldest son Goliath is to be bar mitzvahed this fall though there remain intense family disputes over the venue and type of ceremony to be held (Goliath favors a Conservative or Modern Orthodox one). Emma has lately been serving as a peer mentor at an alternative day school in northern California inspired by the teachings of Francesc Ferrer.

San Diego State University