Jim Butterfield

Photo of Jim Butterfield
Jim Butterfield
Professor of Political Science
(269) 387-5696
(269) 387-5354
3352 Friedmann Hall, Mail Stop 5346
Mailing address: 
Department of Political Science
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5346 USA
  • Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 1989
  • M.A., University of Notre Dame, 1984
  • B.A., Indiana University, 1982
Teaching interests: 
  • Russian and Central Asian politics
  • Democratization and institutional design
  • Civil society and social movements
  • International relations
Research interests: 
  • Civil society's role in advocacy and development
  • Rural development in the former Soviet Union

Dr. Jim Butterfield is professor in the Department of Political Science at Western Michigan University.

Butterfield is interested in civil society, transitions and development. As a specialist in the former Soviet Union and several of the successor states (principally Russia), he has been to the region over three dozen times. Proficient in Russian, he has traveled extensively throughout provincial Russia, including to many cities that were formerly closed to foreigners. He has twice been a visiting associate at the University of Cape Town's Centre for African Studies and in 2013 was a visiting faculty at the Kazakh Agro-Technical University in Astana, Kazakhstan. In 2009-2010, he received a Fulbright Scholar award and spent the academic year at Saratov State University in Russia and was again a Fulbright Specialist Scholar at the same university in May 2014.

 During the 2016-2017 academic year, he is on sabbatical. From September through January, he is teaching at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, thanks to a second Fulbright Scholar award. He is also giving lectures or presenting papers in Malaysia, Burma (Myanmar), Russia and China.

Butterfield has been the faculty director of both the Summer in Istanbul study abroad program and the semester-long language program in Saratov, Russia. He has twice been the chair of the Faculty Senate International Education Council and is a recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences global engagement award.

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