Kathleen Powers, Ph.D.


Dartmouth College

Country: United States (New Hampshire)

Research Interests

Foreign Policy

Political Psychology

Experimental Research

Public Opinion

Specific Areas of Interest

International Cooperation

Nationalism, National Identity

Public Opinion

Political Psychology

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles


Countries of Interest

United States

United Kingdom



Journal Articles:

(2014) Moral Support: How Moral Values Shape Foreign Policy Attitudes, Journal of Politics

Tags: Political Psychology, Public Opinion, Foreign Policy

Although classical international relations theorists largely agreed that public opinion about foreign policy is shaped by moral sentiments, public opinion scholars have yet to explore the content of these moral values, and American IR theorists have tended to exclusively associate morality with liberal idealism. Integrating the study of American foreign policy attitudes with Moral Foundations Theory from social psychology, we present original survey data showing that the five established moral values in psychology—harm/care, fairness/reciprocity, authority/respect, ingroup/loyalty, and purity/sanctity—are strongly and systematically associated with foreign policy attitudes. The ‘‘individualizing’’ foundations of harm/care and fairness/reciprocity are particularly important drivers of cooperative internationalism and the ‘‘binding’’ foundations of authority/respect, ingroup/loyalty, and purity/sanctity of militant internationalism. Hawks and hardliners have morals too, just a different set of moral values than the Enlightenment ones emphasized by liberal idealists.

Media Appearances:

Newspaper Quotes:

(2016) Newsweek

"“Some people think about it as an ideology, a movement, or an attitude—but some research, including my own, views nationalism as part of a person’s social identity,” writes Kathleen Powers, assistant professor in the department of international affairs at the University of Georgia, in an email to Newsweek . “When people identify with a nationality, they have an idea about what defines the prototypical or archetypal group member. In short, they carry a picture of what it means to be an American. “That prototypical American,” Powers adds, “might be defined in relatively inclusive terms, like a person who respects political institutions, or in more exclusive terms, like someone who is part of a Judeo-Christian religion, speaks English, or is a member of a certain racial group. Certainly, some people define the prototypical American as white, Christian, and/or born in the U.S.” And if that’s your conception of what it is to be an American, Powers writes, then anyone who deviates from the norm is either not a true American, or is a poor version of one." Excerpt from "HOW DONALD TRUMP’S NATIONALISM WON OVER WHITE AMERICANS" by Mirren Gidda, Newsweek