Jon Isacoff, Ph.D.

Professor of Political Science & Environmental Studies

Dr. Jonathan Isacoff is Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies at Gonzaga University. Dr. Isacoff was the founding chair of the Environmental Studies Department at Gonzaga and served in that role from 2006 till 2015. He received his...

Jon Isacoff

Contact Information

Education & Curriculum Vitae

Ph.D., Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

M.A., Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

M.P.A., Cornell University

B.A., Cornell University

Courses Taught

ENVS 102: Environmental Politics and Policy

ENVS 193/POLS 193: FYS: Birds

ENVS 398/POLS 395 Climate Change Science and Politics (with Dr. Lefcort, Biology)

POLS 343: War and Peace

POLS 372: Middle East Politics

POLS 373: The Arab-Israeli Conflict


Dr. Jonathan Isacoff is Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies at Gonzaga University. Dr. Isacoff was the founding chair of the Environmental Studies Department at Gonzaga and served in that role from 2006 till 2015. He received his B.A. and M.P.A. from Cornell University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He worked previously as a Confidential Assistant to Governor Mario M. Cuomo of New York and as a consultant for MeretzUSA, an Israeli-American NGO based in New York.

Dr. Isacoff’s book, Writing the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Pragmatism and Historical Inquiry (Lexington Books, 2006) examines interpretations of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict as well as the broader issue of political science historical research. Dr. Isacoff has published articles, book chapters, and book reviews on international security, historical interpretation, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Iraq War, and the political thought of John Dewey.

Dr. Isacoff’s most recent articles have appeared in Perspectives on Politics, the flagship journal of the American Political Science Association (APSA), Journal of Political Science Education, Perspectives on Political Science, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, International Relations, and Western Birds (forthcoming).

Dr. Isacoff teaching interests include war and peace, Middle Eastern politics, and environmental politics. He has taught First Year Seminars and Service Learning courses. Dr. Isacoff especially interested in interdisciplinary teaching and has co-taught with faculty in Religious Studies and Biology. He was awarded an Exemplary Faculty Award from Gonzaga in 2012. He taught previously at Saint Joseph’s University, Haverford College, and the University of Pennsylvania, where he won the Graduate Student Association Council Award for Teaching Excellence in 1999.

Dr. Isacoff has traveled extensively in the Middle East. He studied Arabic for 4 years and Hebrew for 2 years. He earned his Arabic Language certificate at the Middlebury College Language School and continued study at the Palestine Abraham Center for Languages in Gaza. In addition, he was a Brandeis University Schusterman Center Israel Studies Fellow during 2017.

Dr. Isacoff is an avid birder and outdoorsperson. He is currently Secretary and Board Member of the Dishman Hills Conservancy. He has served on the boards of the Spokane Audubon Society and the Washington Ornithological Society (WOS), and as Hiking Committee Chair for the Spokane Mountaineers. He is also a regional reviewer for the Cornell University Lab or Ornithology’s eBird citizen science project.

Books

2006 Writing the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Pragmatism and Historical Inquiry. Lanham, MD: Lexington/Rowman and Littlefield.

• Reviewed by Motti Golani in Israel Studies Forum (Published by the Association for Israel Studies), Vol. 25, No. 1, Summer 2010.
• Reviewed by Eyal Ben-Ari in H-Net (Humanities and Social Science Net), March 2007.
• Reviewed by Ann M. Lesch in Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 36, Issue 2, Winter 2007.
• Reviewed by Maurice J. Meilleur in Perspectives on Politics (Published by the American Political Science Association (APSA)), Volume 5, Issue 1, March 2007.
• Reviewed in Middle East Journal, Vol. 61, Issue 1, Winter 2007.
• Reviewed in Pitt Political Review.
Choice recommended title.

Refereed Journal Articles and Chapters

2020 “The Pathologies of the Climate Change Movement” (under review)

2020 “A Deweyan Pragmatist View on Political Science Methods,” in Jeffrey Bernstein, Ed., Teaching Political Science Research Methodology, Edward Elgar Publishing. (forthcoming)

2015 "On the Historical Imagination of IR: The Case for a 'Deweyan Reconstruction,'" reproduction of 2002 article in Halvard Leira and Benjamin de Carvalho, Eds., Historical International Relations, SAGE Library of International Affairs Collection. Sage Publications.

2015 “Why IR Needs Deweyan Pragmatism,” Perspectives on Political Science, Volume 44, No. 1.

2014 “Achieving what Political Science is for,” Journal of Political Science Education, Volume 10, No. 4.

2008 “Pragmatism, History, and IR,” in Harry Bauer and Elisabetta Brighi, Eds., Pragmatism in International Relations. London, UK: Routledge.

2005 “Writing the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Historical Bias and the Use of History in Political Science,” Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 3, No. 1.

2003 “Why Diplomacy Failed and How it could Have Succeeded,” in Art Shostak, Ed., Defeating Terrorism/Developing Dreams: Beyond 9/11 and the Iraq War, Vol. 3. Broomall, PA: Chelsea House.

2003 "Systemic Interpretations and the National Interest: Presidential “Lessons of Vietnam” International Relations, Vol. 17, No. 2. (With Wesley W. Widmaier).

2002 "On the Historical Imagination of IR: The Case for a 'Deweyan Reconstruction,'" Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Vol. 31, No. 3.

Other Publications

2020 “The Western Flycatcher Problem in Eastern Washington,” Washington Birds, peer reviewed (forthcoming)

2015 “Northeastern Columbia Basin,” “Northeast Corner,” and “Pend Oreille River Valley,” in Jane Hadley, Ed., A Birder’s Guide to Washington, 2nd Edition, American Birding Association

Book Reviews

2020 Review of Tareq Baconi, Hamas Contained: The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance, American Historical Review (forthcoming)

2018 Review of John Chalcraft, Popular Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East, American Historical Review, Volume 123, Issue 3

2008 Review of Matthew Klingle, Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle, Columbia (June).

2003 Review of Douglas Little, American Orientalism, Intelligence and National Security, Volume 18, No. 3.

2003 Review of Michael Oren, Six Days of War, Intelligence and National Security, Volume 18, No. 3.

2002 "Constructing Death: Norms, War, and Civilian Casualties." Review of Ward Thomas, The Ethics of Destruction, H-Diplo, H-Net Humanities and Sciences Online.

2000 Review of Keith Jenkins, Why History? Ethics and Postmodernity, International Studies Review, Vol. 2, No. 3.

1999 Review of Motti Golani, Israel in Search of a War, Israel Studies Bulletin.