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Department of Political Science

Emeritus Faculty

Gordon B. Smith

Title: Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Department: Political Science
Department of Political Science
Phone: 803-465-0555


Gordon B. Smith (Ph.D., Indiana University 1976) is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science.   He has held numerous positions including Associate Dean of Liberal Arts, Interim Dean of Liberal Arts, Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, Director of the Walker Institute of International and Area Studies; and Founding Director of the Rule of Law Collaborative.  He has been a fellow at Harvard University, the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, and Russian studies centers in England and Japan.


Professor Smith’s research interests include legal and political reform in the former USSR; democratic transitions; adoption and diffusion of reform; as well as impediments to change (i.e. corruption and bureaucratic resistance).  Professor Smith has been involved with legal reform projects in Russia, Mongolia, Central Asia and the Caucasus. He has published ten books and more than 50 articles and book chapters.  He was selected for USC’s prestigious Russell Research Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences in 1983.


Professor Smith regularly taught courses on Russian Politics, Russian Foreign Policy, and Post-Soviet Legal Systems. He continues to teach a course in the SC Honors College entitled “Advancing Rule of Law and Human Rights in a Turbulent World.”   He has received numerous teaching awards, including Outstanding Teaching in Political Science by the APSA and Pi Sigma Alpha in 2002, and the Professor of the Year by Sigma Iota Rho, USC Beta Chapter, 2007.

Selected Publications 

The Soviet Procuracy and the Supervision of Administration (Sijthoff & Noordhoff, 1978)

Soviet Politics (St. Martin’s Press, 1988 and 1992)

Reforming the Russian Legal System(Cambridge University Press, 1996)

State-Building in Russia: The Yeltsin Legacy and the Challenge of the Future (M.E. Sharpe, 1999)

Russia and its Constitution: Promise and Political Reality(Brill, 2008 with Robert Sharlet)


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