Scott Straus

Position title: Department Chair | Professor | Comparative Politics


Phone: (608) 263-1894

110 North Hall


Ph.D. in Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, May 2004

M.A. in Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, May 1999

B.A. in English, Dartmouth College, June 1993


Africa, Conflict Resolution, Cote d’lvoire, DR Congo, Foreign Aid, Genocide, Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, Nationalism, Political Violence, Rwanda

Scott Straus (Berkeley Ph.D., 2004) is Professor and incoming Chair in the Department of Political Science and Professor of International Studies. Straus works on violence, human rights, and African politics. His most recent books are Fundamentals of Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (US Holocuast Memorial Museum, 2016) and Making and Unmaking Nations: War, Leadership, and Genocide in Modern Africa (Cornell, 2015), which won awards from the American Political Science Association and the International Studies Association.  His 2006 book on the Rwandan genocide, The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda (Cornell University Press), also won several awards, including the best 2006 book in political science from the Association of American Publishers. He also has co-edited, with Lars Waldorf, Remaking Rwanda: State-Building and Human Rights in Rwanda (UW Press, 2011) and, with Steve Stern, The Human Rights Paradox: Universality and Its Discontents (UW Press, 2014).

Straus also co-authored, with David Leonard, Africa’s Stalled Development: International Causes and Cures (Lynne Rienner, 2003) and, with Robert Lyons, Intimate Enemy: Voices and Images of the Rwandan Genocide (Zone/MIT, 2006). Straus has published articles in American Journal of Political Science, World Politics, Politics and Society, Foreign AffairsPerspectives on Politics, African Affairs, Terrorism and Political Violence, Genocide Studies and Prevention, The Journal of Genocide Research, and other journals; he translated The Great Lakes of Africa: Two Thousand Years of History (Zone 2003); and he has received fellowships from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the United States Institute of Peace. In 2009, Straus was awarded the campus-wide William Kiekhofer Distinguished Teaching Award, and in 2011 he was named a Winnick Fellow at the Committee on Conscience at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Prior to his academic career, Straus was a freelance journalist in Africa.


PS 434 The Politics of Human Rights Summer 2019

PS 434 The Politics of Human Rights Summer 2018

PS 948 Political Violence Spring 2017-2018

PS 919 Statistical Computing Spring 2017-2018

PS 919 Agent Based Modeling Spring 2017-2018

PS 434 The Politics of Human Rights Spring 2017-2018

PS 801 Research and Writing Seminar Fall 2017-2018

PS 800 Political Science as a Discipline and Profession Fall 2017-2018

PS 439 The Comparative Study of Genocide Fall 2017-2018

PS 317 The Politics of Human Rights Summer 2016-2017

PS 919 Event History Spring 2016-2017

PS 801 Research and Writing Seminar Spring 2016-2017

PS 948 Political Violence Fall 2016-2017

PS 800 Political Science as a Discipline and Profession Fall 2016-2017

PS 601 Post-Conflict Peacebuilding Fall 2016-2017

PS 317 The Politics of Human Rights Spring 2015-2016

PS 800 Political Science as a Discipline and Profession Fall 2015-2016

PS 318 The Comparative Study of Genocide Fall 2015-2016



University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. (Wisconsin State Journal article)

Phi Beta Kappa Excellence in Teaching Award.


Making and Unmaking Nations, Best Book Award from the Conflict Processes Section of the American Political Science Association for a book published in 2014 or 2015.

Making and Unmaking Nations, The Georgetown University Lepgold Book Prize, for the best book on international relations published in 2015.

Appointed by President Obama as a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council

UW Kellett Mid-Career Award

Service for Outstanding Mentor from the Ronald E McNair program


Recieved the 2015 Distinguished Honors Faculty Awards from the L&S Honor Program.


Nominated by UW-Madison for the Carnegie Fellows Program

2015 Distinguished Honors Faculty Awards from the L&S Honor Program


Honored Instructor Award, UW-Madison Division of Housing


Winnick Fellow, Committee on Conscience, U.S. Memorial Holocaust Museum

United States Institute for Peace Grant, 2010 Annual Competition

Romnes Faculty Fellow – UW Madison Graduate School