David Forsythe Portrait
Emeritus Professor Political Science

Dr. David Forsythe is widely regarded as having been among the first to help establish the study of human rights and humanitarian affairs in the disciplines of political science and international relations. He enjoys travel, often in Europe but also in the U.S, especially the National Parks.

Research Areas

  • International Human Rights
  • International Law and Organization
  • American Foreign Policy
  • International Relations

Current Research

  • The UN Security Council
  • International Criminal Justice


  • Distinguished Scholar Award from the Human Rights Section of the American Political Science Association, 2007
  • Quincy Wright Distinguished Scholar Award from the Mid-West Section of the International Studies Association, 2003


Over 100 publications on different aspects of International Relations, including:

  • The Politics of Prisoner Abuse: U.S. Policy and Enemy Prisoners after 9/11, (Cambridge University Press 2011)
  • Human Rights and Comparative Foreign Policy, (United Nations University Press, 2000; edited)
  • The United States and Human Rights, (University of Nebraska Press, 2000; edited)
  • Human Rights and Diversity: Area Studies Revisited, (University of Nebraska Press, 2004; edited with Patrice McMahon)
  • The Humanitarians: The International Committee of the Red Cross, (Cambridge University Press, 2005)
  • Human Rights in International Relations, (Cambridge University Press, 2000, translated into Chinese, Turkish, Korean, and Bulgarian; 2nd edition 2006)
  • The United Nations and Changing World Politics, (Westview Press, 5th ed. 2006; with 3 other authors)
  • American Foreign Policy in a Globalized World, (Routledge, 2006; edited with two others).
  • General Editor of the award-winning Human Rights Encyclopedia (Oxford University Press, 5 volumes).

Career Highlights

  • Fulbright Senior Research Chair in Human Rights and International Studies at the Danish Institute of International Studies, Copenhagen, 2008
  • Gladstein Visiting Professor, Human Rights Institute, University of Connecticut, 2007
  • Ph.D., Princeton University, 1968