Political Science Faculty

Joshua Byun

Assistant Professor


Joshua Byun joined the Political Science department at Boston College in July 2023. Byun specializes in International Relations, with a focus on questions related to grand strategy and alliance politics. He is currently writing a book on the causes and consequences of strategic incoherence in military alliances, analyzing (1) why a leading great power’s allies often fail to reconcile their military postures with the aims of its grand strategy and (2) how this affects the alliance’s performance vis-à-vis its adversaries.

Byun’s broader research interests center on topics such as preventive war, the role of nuclear weapons in grand strategy, the relationship between power politics and international norms, the effects of leader age on international politics, and the impact of different military recruitment systems on battlefield performance. Some of his research has been published or is forthcoming in outlets such as the American Political Science Review, International Studies Quarterly, PoliticalScience Quarterly, Contemporary Security Policy, European Journal of International Security, and the Washington Quarterly.

At Boston College, Byun teaches a graduate seminar on international security affairs as well as undergraduate lecture courses on U.S. grand strategy and the great power politics of the Cold War era.

Before joining the faculty at Boston College, Byun was a Global Innovation Program Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House (2022-23) and a Hans J. Morgenthau Predoctoral Fellow at the University of Notre Dame’s International Security Center (2021-22). His research has been sponsored by the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Charles Koch Foundation, and the Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies, as well as the Center for East Asian Studies and the Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts at the University of Chicago, among others. Byun holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in International Studies and Political Science, summa cum laude, from Korea University.

Before beginning his academic career, Byun served as the personal interpreter to South Korea’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity, he assisted the Chairman during all interactions with English-speaking foreign partners, including the Commander of the U.S. Forces Korea (CDRUSFK), Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command (CDRUSPACOM), and the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS).