Teaching Deterrence: A 21st-Century Update

Lana Obradovic, Michelle Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Although deterrence was one of the cornerstones of the international relations field for much of the 20th century, today surveys demonstrate that most students lack even a basic understanding of this concept. Yet, in the light of recent events on the Korean Peninsula, in China, and the post-Soviet space, our civilian and military leaders continue to emphasize the need to develop and foster critical and strategic thinking on deterrence. In this essay, we ask how we can nurture the next generation of strategic thinkers and leaders without deliberately leaving teaching “defense” concepts to the military. We propose updating our reading lists to include the emerging and innovative literature on deterring 21st-century threats, and teaching with current policy documents, problem-based learning, and simulations. More specifically, we suggest strengthening students’ critical thinking and writing skills through collaborative research projects and encouraging experiential learning opportunities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-356
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Political Science Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2 2020


  • collaborative research
  • curriculum
  • Deterrence
  • experiential learning
  • undergraduate and graduate education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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