Robert L. Oprisko Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Robert L. Oprisko

Research Fellow
Indiana University

Hello, everyone! As you probably know, I'm a political theorist specializing in contemporary international and political theory theory. My research explores the social mechanisms that shape how the individual connects to the international and the particular to the universal.


I received my Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2011, having studied under Michael Weinstein.  I consider it a major accomplishment because political theory was already being systematically eliminated from many programs, including at Purdue.  Having survived the academic bullying and generally malicious actions of that department, I took my first position at Butler University.

I enjoyed teaching at Butler and was able to increase the professional engagement of undergraduate students there such that 40 of 54 international studies majors presented research at regional, national, and international conferences and 12 of 54 majors published in refereed outlets.  Pretty amazing.  

After a bittersweet parting with Butler, I'm now a Research Fellow for Indiana University and the Editor-at-Large and Director of the Board for E-International Relations.  I've been publishing articles (I try to do so exclusively open access) to develop my theories.  

I also enjoy smoking cigars, sipping whiskey, and lifting weights when not reading or writing.  If you attend the Midwest Political Science Association annual meeting, you can often find me at Iwan Reis.


    Ph.D., Political Science, Purdue University, 2011.
    M.A., International Relations, Purdue University, 2008.
    M.S., Political Science, Indiana State University, 2007.
    B.A., International Affairs, Indiana University, 2002.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Normative Political Theory, International Relations Theory, Contemporary Political Theory, Poliorcetics, Critical University Studies

Personal Interests

    Weight Lifting, Cigars, Scotch, Bourbon, Terry Pratchett novels.



Featured Title
 Featured Title - Honor: A Phenomenology (Oprisko) - RPD - 1st Edition book cover


Contemporary Political Theory

From Nothing, Everything

Published: Feb 17, 2015 by Contemporary Political Theory
Authors: Oprisko, Robert L.

Void Universalism is, arguably, Sergei Prozorov’s magnum opus. Consisting of two volumes, Void Universalism links the individual to the international, the particular to the universal, and nothing to everything. With this publication, Sergei Prozorov establishes himself as the most innovative contemporary scholar in international political theory, placing himself on equal terms with Badiou, Nancy, and Agamben, with whom his work is in deep conversation.


Beyond the Cake Model: Critical Intersectionality and the Relative Advantage of

Published: Dec 01, 2014 by Epiphany
Authors: Oprisko, Robert L.; Caplan, Joshua
Subjects: Sociology, Philosophy

Intersectionality came about as a critique of traditional, uniaxial studies of oppression. We explore intersectionality's power both as a theoretical lens and a methodological tool. Focusing on both the external perception of a subject and the internal perception of the self, we show how identity is a critical mass between the social and existential.

Theoria & Praxis

Strings: A Political Theory of Multi-Dimensional Reality

Published: Dec 01, 2014 by Theoria & Praxis
Authors: Oprisko, Robert L.
Subjects: Philosophy

Reality is an ever-changing unique presentation of active relational engagements in perpetual tension. Building a unified theory becomes possible through embracing agonic contradiction as the unifying reagent of ontology. I propose that reality is a complex not of opposites but of uniquely presented tensions that lie at the intersection of radical entanglement and radical separation.

Thought and Action

Pursuing Higher Education's MacGuffin: Economic Realities of the $10,000 Colleg

Published: Nov 01, 2014 by Thought and Action
Authors: Oprisko, Robert L.
Subjects: Education, Sociology & Social Policy

By focusing solely on total degree cost, the proponents of the 10K degree ignore other variables of the equation, including public funding, education quality, and faculty pay. Nonetheless, the economic and social realities, or consequences, of where the 10K degree leads us may be important to consider in determining whether this goal, a high-quality post-secondary education on the cheap, is worthy of further societal consideration.

Journal of International and Global Studies

The State as a Person?: Anthropomorphic Personification v. Concrete Durational B

Published: Nov 01, 2014 by Journal of International and Global Studies
Authors: Oprisko, Robert L.; Kaliher, Kristopher
Subjects: Philosophy

We depart from Wendt’s argument, however, and see the attempt to attribute biological personhood to the state as detrimental. By adding in perspectives from theorists such as Bourdieu, Oprisko, Lomas, and Wight, we determine that an objective biological state cannot exist within a socially constructed world. This leads to the conclusion that the state is a social person but not a biological one.

Theoria & Praxis

Failure as the Real

Published: Dec 01, 2013 by Theoria & Praxis
Authors: Oprisko, Robert L.
Subjects: Philosophy

Zizek’s synthetic ontology is nothing less than an attempt to understand the real as the failed attempt. Failure penetrates the entirety of the text and is reminiscent of Doc Hammer’s take on The Venture Brothers, “It’s about the beauty of failure. It’s about the failure that happens to all of us.”

Georgetown Public Policy Review

Placement Efficiency: An Alternative Ranking Metric for Graduate Schools

Published: Sep 15, 2013 by Georgetown Public Policy Review
Authors: Oprisko, Robert L.; Dobbs, Kirstie L.; DiGrazia, Joseph
Subjects: Sociology & Social Policy

Placement efficiency measures the number of tenured and tenure-track placements of Ph.D.-graduates per tenured and tenure-track faculty at a given Ph.D.-granting institution.

Georgetown Public Policy Review

Pushing up Ivies: Institutional Prestige and the Academic Caste System

Published: Aug 21, 2013 by Georgetown Public Policy Review
Authors: Oprisko, Robert L.; Dobbs, Kirstie L.; Digrazia Joseph
Subjects: Sociology & Social Policy

This research explores the effects of faculty hiring and Ph.D. alma mater. We show that the Ivy League enjoys a significant benefit in placing candidates because of their inclusion in that prestigious group. By creating a metric that looks at the Institutional Ranking Difference (IRD), we also show that Ph.D. programs do not benefit by hiring academics from premier institutions. Not only do they not enjoy a benefit to rank, they also do not benefit in placing candidates in the job market.

E-International Relations

Egypt's Three-Card Monte: The Arab Spring and Human Revolution

Published: Jul 23, 2013 by E-International Relations
Authors: Oprisko, Robert L.

Egypt represents not an exemplary case of meekly accepted structural inequality, but an exceptional case of dignified and rebellious humanity. The political shell-game has been turned on its head such that would-be elites are walking into a functional system that devalues institutionalized authority, legitimacy and sovereignty.

E-International Relations

IR Theory's 21st Century Experiential Evolution

Published: May 25, 2013 by E-International Relations
Authors: Oprisko, Robert L.

Twenty-first century scholarship within international relations illuminates a sea-change away from the primacy of the state and second order analyses toward the relationship that individuals have within the international system, linking first- and third-order analyses together.