John Mehrtens, PhD

John MehrtensVisiting Assistant Professor of Political Science
College of Arts and Sciences

Office Location: Eckhart Hall, Room 408
Phone: 630-844-6166
Fax: 630-844-5242
Email Address:

I have both traveled (44 states, 30ish countries) and moved (15 times) a lot, so I sort of feel at home both everywhere and nowhere simultaneously, but my roots are primarily in Irvine, CA. My interests as a political scientist stem largely from a desire to understand the strengths and weaknesses of our society by viewing it in the context of the larger international community, particularly with respect to social policy and foreign relations. My big emphasis as a teacher is encouraging students to step out of their respective comfort zones and interact with the larger world, both intellectually (confronting new ideas) and literally (travel, especially ‘study away’ opportunities). In addition to a previous stint at AU, I have taught at UNC-Chapel Hill, Miami University (OH), UNLV, Beloit College (WI), and Keene State College (NH), but I love the teaching/learning environment here, so I’m thrilled to be back. 


PhD, Political Science, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, 2004  
MA, Political Science, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, 1999
BA, Business/Economics, University of California - Santa Barbara, 1990

Areas of Specialization

Comparative Welfare States
Comparative Foreign Policy
International Relations

Courses Taught

International Relations
European Politics
United States Politics
Nordic Politics
Comparative Foreign Policy
Comparative Anti-Americanism
Communist Political Systems
Research Methods
Understanding Politics through Film 

Publication, Media, and Speaking Highlights 

“Three Worlds of Public Opinion? Values, Variation, and the Effect on Social Policy”, International Journal of Public Opinion Research,16/2 (Summer 2004): 115-143.
“Laissez-Faire vs. Regulated Capitalism: A Cross-National Analysis of Social Costs”, Sociological Spectrum, 24/3 (May-June 2004): 341-368.
“What About North Korea’s Sovereignty?”, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 15 October 2006.
“What Better History?”, New Hampshire Union Leader, 2 February 2009.
“KVVU Fox 5 News at 10” discussing death of Abu Moussab al Zarqawi, interviewed by Ann Lim, Las Vegas, June 2006.
“News One at Nine” with Jeff Gillen, discussing Ukrainian election, Las Vegas One, November 29, 2004.
“NewsNight with Aaron Brown”, panel discussion of upcoming presidential election, CNN, October 1, 2004.
“The Emperor has No Clothes: Why the US is No Longer the ‘Leader of the Free World’”, UNLV University Forum lecture series, November 30, 2005.

Highlights of Teaching Career

Accompanied class of 16 Keene State students to Norway, Sweden, & Iceland (May 2012)
Accompanied group of six AU students to Model United Nations in St. Louis (March 2008)
College of Liberal Arts nominee, UNLV CSUN (student government) Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, Spring 2006