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Robert G. Blanton

Chair and Professor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Heritage Hall 414A
(205) 934-2339

Research and Teaching Interests: International political economy, human rights, international organization

Office Hours: T/R 1:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.


  • BA, North Carolina State University
  • MA, University of South Carolina
  • PhD, University of South Carolina

Dr. Blanton specializes in the area of international political economy, particularly the “human face” of the global economy. Broadly put, much of his current work deals with the intersection of human rights and the global economic system. That is, he examines how different facets of the global economy — including the investment decisions of multinational corporations, global trade, or the actions of international financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank — either influence or are influenced by different types of human rights, such as personal integrity rights, labor rights, the right to safe work conditions and women’s rights. Another branch of his research focuses on the informal or “shadow” economy. Within this area, Dr. Blanton explores political and economic issues related to the shadow economy as a whole, specifically factors that contribute to growth in the informal economy. Other work within this vein of research deals more closely with a specific facet of the shadow economy, human trafficking. For more information on his research, check out the selected publications listed below as well as his google scholar page.

He is also active and engaged in various aspects of international studies education; he has directed international studies programs for many years and served as the section president of the International Education section of the International Studies Association (ISA). This interest extends to his research as well as the classroom, as he has published articles dealing with the challenges of international studies programs as well as ways to effectively incorporate aspects of pop culture — particularly zombies — into the classroom.

  • Recent Courses

    Follow the linked course names to see sample syllabi which describe course aims, learning objectives, requirements, and schedules. These are samples only. The instructor may make changes to these syllabi in future courses.

  • Select Publications
    • Blanton, R. G., Blanton, S. L., & Peksen, D. 2023. Resource Wealth: A “Curse” for Labor Rights? Comparative Political Studies, doi.org/10.1177/00104140231178732
    • Blanton, S. L., Peksen, D., & Blanton, R. G. 2023. The Impact of Peacekeeping Missions on Women’s Empowerment. Political Research Quarterly, doi.org/10.1177/10659129231181594
    • Blanton, Robert and Peter Jones. 2021. "Social Construction and the Diffusion of Anti-Trafficking Laws," Policy Studies Journal. DOI: 10.1111/psj.12451
    • Blanton, Robert and Dursun Peksen. 2021. "Resource Wealth and the Informal Economy," International Political Science Review. doi.org/10.1177/0192512121991973
    • Blanton, Robert and Dursun Peksen. 2021. "A Global Analysis of Financial Crises and the Growth of Informal Economic Activity," Social Science Quarterly. doi.org/10.1111/ssqu.12952
    • Mills, Maura, Tortez, Leanne and Robert Blanton. 2019. "Moving Beyond Employees: Anti-Trafficking Training as Facilitating Social Change." Industrial and Organizational Psychology. 12(1): 34-38.
    • Robert G. Blanton & Bryan Early & Dursun Peksen, 2018. "Out of the Shadows or into the Dark? Economic Openness, IMF Programs, and the Growth of Shadow Economies." The Review of International Organizations, 13(2): 309-333. A blog version of the article can be found in the Harvard Business Review.
    • Robert G. Blanton and Dursun Peksen. 2016. "Economic Liberalization, Market Institutions, and Labor Rights," European Journal of Political Research, 55 (2):474-91. Blog versions of article can be found at Democratic Audit UK as well as Newsweek.
    • Robert Blanton, Shannon Blanton and Dursun Peksen. 2015. "The Impact of IMF and World Bank Programs on Labor Rights," Political Research Quarterly, 68 (2):377-91. A short version of the article can be found at International Union Rights; Japanese translation appears in Zenroren.
  • Academic Distinctions & Professional Memberships
    • Dunavant Research Professorship, University of Memphis, 2009-2011
    • Early Career Research Award (2002) and Distinguished Research Award (2009), University of Memphis
    • Distinguished Advising Award, University of Memphis, 2012
    • "PI Millionaire Award" for being awarded over $2 million in support for the Tennessee Governor’s School of International Studies
    • American Political Science Association
    • International Studies Association
    • Peace Science Society