Dr James D. Boys

Associate Professor of International Political Studies

Dr James D. Boys

Dr James D. Boys


Dr. James D. Boys is a political historian specializing in the United States and its place in the world. He has a special interest in the study of the United States’ presidency and specifically in the administration of Bill Clinton. His work is focused on three specific themes in contemporary American political history; the interplay between domestic politics and foreign policy; the development of US Grand Strategy; and continuity and change in the American presidency.

Dr Boys taught US Twentieth Century History for 3 years at the University of Birmingham, and has delivered courses examining aspects of US history and politics at the University of Leicester, De Montfort University, Syracuse University, and Gloucester University. In 2010 Dr Boys was a Visiting Fellow at the University of North Dakota, and a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s College, London from 2012-2015.

Dr Boys has worked on Wall Street and Capitol Hill, and held political office in the United Kingdom, experiences he brings to his courses, enabling research-led classes, full of empirical evidence, as well as lively debate and discussion. His innovative and engaging approach brings a high degree of energy to his classes. Along with Dr Keating, Dr Boys was instrumental in incorporating Policy Briefs as a form of assessment on a number of courses, an innovation that continues to earn favourable reaction from all concerned, and which has proved invaluable to students as they graduate to further studies and into the workplace.

Dr Boys works regular with the BBC, Sky News, CNBC, and Aljazeera, offering insight into developments in Washington, DC, ensuring his research and analysis regularly reaches over 100 million people in more than 140 countries. In 2013 he testified before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee and was quoted extensively in its final report on US-UK relations.

Dr Boys has produced a growing number of highly regarded publications. In particular, he produced two innovative papers comparing Obama and Nixon’s use of Wars of Choice, and another examining the use of rendition by successive US administrations and the varying media reaction to this practice. His first book, Clinton’s Grand Strategy, was published by Bloomsbury in 2015. He is the only British academic to have produced a political biography of Hillary Clinton, published in 2016. His third book, Clinton’s War on Terror, is the first attempt to place the administration’s counterterrorism strategy in context. As with all of Dr Boys’ work, it draws extensively on primary source material, much of it only recently declassified, as well as exclusive, elite interviews with former members of the Clinton administration. It will be published in 2018.

Faculty Research


Clinton’s War on Terror: Prelude to Catastrophe 1993-2001. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2018.

The Encyclopaedia of Diplomacy: 4 Volume Set. Contributing editor. London: Wiley Blackwell, 2018.

Hillary Rising: The Politics, Persona and Policies of a New American Dynasty. London: Biteback, 2016.

Clinton’s Grand Strategy: US Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War World. London: Bloomsbury, 2015.

‘JFK: The Exceptional Ideal?’ in JFK: History, Memory, Legacy: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry, John Williams, Robert G. Waite and Gregory Gordon, eds. University of North Dakota Press, 2009.

‘E-Government: Big Brother of Athenian Democracy,’ with Hind Zantout, in Proceedings of the IADIS International Conference e-society 2009: Volume II, Piet Kommers and Pedro Isaías, eds. Barcelona, Spain, 2009, pp 13-17.

Journal Articles

‘The Presidential Manipulation of Inherited Wars of Choice: Barack Obama’s Use of Nixonian Methods as Commander-In-Chief,’ Congress and the Presidency, October 2015.

‘Exploiting Inherited Wars of Choice: Obama’s Use of Nixonian Methods to Secure the Presidency,’ American Politics Research, Volume 42, Issue 5, September 2014, pp. 815-840.

‘Lost Opportunity: The Flawed Implementation of Assertive Multilateralism, 1991-93’ European Journal of American Studies, December 2012.

‘What’s So Extraordinary About Rendition?’ International Journal of Human Rights, Volume 15, Issue 4, 2011.

‘The Policy Brief: Building Practical Skills in International Relations and Political Science,’ with Michael Keating, in Politics, Volume 29, Issue 3, October 2009, pp. 201-208.

Get in Touch

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Dr. Boys convenes classes on the undergraduate programmes in History, Politics and International Relations, as well as on the postgraduate International Relations programme

Some of the courses I teach:
INR 5400 – US Grand Strategy
PLT 5400 – Politics in the USA
INR 6415 – Foreign Policy Analysis
HST 4105 – Versailles To Vietnam: US & the World
PLT 3100 – Foundations of Politics

Research Clusters:
The Study of the State, Power and Globalisation

Research Interest & Expertise:

Dr. Boys’ work is focused on three specific themes in contemporary American political history. These are the interplay between domestic politics and foreign policy; the development of US Grand Strategy; and continuity and change in the American presidency. His research into the Clinton administration led to the publication of Clinton’s Grand Strategy, a deliberate attempt to explore the impact of individuals on policy at a key historical juncture, Hillary Rising, a political biography of the Democratic candidate in 2016, and Clinton’s War on Terror, which places the administration’s counterterrorism strategy in a broad historical context.  His research draws on primary material from the Clinton Presidential Library, the National Security Council archives, the Library of Congress, and on interviews with members of the former administration, British politicians and those who covered the White House at the time.

Having worked with global media outlets since 2007, Dr Boys is a regular contributor to Sky News, Aljazeera English and the BBC, offering insight into US foreign and domestic politics. He maintains a website at www.jamesdboys.com and a twitter account @jamesdboys