Michael R. Fowler, J.D., Professor, Political Science

About

      Biography

      Michael Fowler is Professor of Political Science at the University of Louisville. Twice a Fulbright Scholar to Japan and twice a visiting professor for Semester at Sea, Professor Fowler has published seven books as well as articles in such scholarly journals as the Harvard Negotiation Law Review, the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, and Review of International Studies. Fowler has been awarded the University’s Exemplary Multicultural Teaching Award and its Distinguished International Service Award. Louisville students have nominated Professor Fowler as a Faculty Favorite on six occasions, and Louisville athletes as a Faculty Mentor on three. His written work has been assigned in courses at various universities, including Stanford, Columbia, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts. Fowler has lectured in Argentina, Australia, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Panama, and Venezuela, and has worked extensively with the training wings of the ministries of foreign affairs in Laos and Vietnam. As detailed further below, his areas of expertise include Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, Drug Trafficking, International Law and Organization, U.S. Foreign Policy, and American Law.

      When not at the University, Professor Fowler can be found running his 115-acre horse farm in southern Indiana or coaching baseball, where teams he has coached have won one KCAA state championship, finished runner-up on another occasion, and won the City Babe Ruth title.

      Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

      Michael Fowler is the author of a forthcoming textbook by Carolina Academic Press entitled Mastering Negotiation that explores negotiation strategies in complex disputes, while focusing especially on interest-based, or principled, negotiation.

      Professor Fowler has taught negotiation to undergraduate and graduate students, law and Master’s students, and has conducted negotiation training courses, seminars, or workshops for lawyers, diplomats, professors, military officers, business executives, and human resources professionals, and other mid-career individuals. Among the groups he has worked with, teaching or facilitating negotiation, are the Guatemalan Electoral Office, the Louisville Human Relations Commission, and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators.

      From 2000 to 2005 Michael Fowler served as the founding director of the University of Louisville’s Muhammad Ali Institute for Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution. Under his direction, the Ali Institute founded the North American Peace Ambassadors program, the world’s first student-exchange program in conflict resolution that included universities in Mexico, Canada, and the United States and was awarded a prestigious Fund for the Improvement of Post-secondary Education (FIPSE) grant from the U.S. Department of Education. While he taught at the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville and directed the Ali Institute, Professor Fowler’s teams of law students won five American Bar Association Midwestern Regional Negotiation Championships from 1997 to 2003 and placed in the top ten of the up to 260 teams competing on five occasions, including third in North America in 2004. 

      Professor Fowler is also considered an authority on teaching negotiation effectively, having written articles for International Studies Perspectives on cross-cultural simulations and negotiation pedagogy and having led a negotiation teaching workshop for dozens of professors from universities across China at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing.

      Drug Trafficking

      Michael Fowler is also one of the world’s foremost experts on the trafficking of different narcotics through the bridge states of Central America. Drawing on more than a decade of research in the region, he and co-author Julie Bunck published Bribes, Bullets, and Intimidation: Drug Trafficking and the Law in Central America (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012). An AHC television documentary on a Honduran kingpin (Manhunt: Kill or Capture: The Devil Incarnate), that aired across the United States and Canada in October 2015, drew heavily on the research in this book.

      William O. Walker III of the University of Toronto wrote, “There is nothing like Bribes, Bullets, and Intimidation in the drug-control literature. It covers a region, Central America, that other studies deal with peripherally, if at all.... The authors make their subject a compelling story, one that is essential to an understanding of recent and contemporary Central America.”

      Peter Andreas of Brown University noted: “This book fills a glaring gap in the voluminous drug literature. It will instantly become the reference book for understanding the role of Central America in the international drug trade and the profound impact of the trade on the countries of the region. Anyone interested in drug trafficking in Central America will find this book to be essential reading. And anyone who fails to cite this book when writing about drug trafficking in Central America will provoke raised eyebrows.”

      In American Diplomacy Joe B. Johnson of the U.S. Department of State and the Foreign Service Institute wrote: “This is a comprehensive, detailed history of the narcotics trade and government interdiction efforts in Central America from 1980 to 2010. If you work in an embassy Narcotics Affairs Section in Latin America or study illegal narcotics trafficking, you will want this book.... This dispassionate, factual work makes a powerful statement.”

      International Relations: International Law and Organization

      Professor Fowler has taught international law and organization  at the University of Louisville and in visiting posts at Georgetown University and George Washington University and abroad in Panama and Vietnam and for Semester at Sea. Alongside former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Sumihiro Kuyama, he published Envisioning Reform: Enhancing UN Accountability in the 21st Century (United Nations University Press, 2009).

      Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Martti Ahtisaari termed Envisioning Reform a “timely and valuable contribution” toward the objective of providing “much more serious attention ... [to] global governance wherein the organizations in the UN system are to play a pivotal role.”

      With co-author Julie Bunck, Michael Fowler also published Law, Power, and the Sovereign State: The Evolution and Application of the Concept of Sovereignty (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995).

      Richard Falk of Princeton University called this work an “invaluable study of sovereignty [that] explores anew one of the most enduring ideas in political theory and illuminates with lucidity the changing nature of the sovereign state.”

      Daniel Philpott of Notre Dame University wrote in World Politics: “Fowler and Bunck question the notion of international relations as a ‘Westphalian order’ that originated in the seventeenth century and then continued to the present, beginning only now to cleave. Instead, their common thesis runs, state sovereignty has been revisable and revised, violable and violated – constantly and continuously, for diverse causes and purposes.... [Law, Power, and the Sovereign State poses] a vigorous challenge, rich in implications about sovereignty – its history, its role in international politics, its place in international relations scholarship, and its changing status today.”

      In International Journal Vince DeRose of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada wrote: “Michael Ross Fowler and Julie Marie Bunck's defence of sovereignty ... is a welcome addition to the literature on international relations theory.... This book is noteworthy for two reasons. First, it is not intended only for the intelligentsia of international relations. The accessibility of the ideas makes it ideal for students of international relations. Yet, those familiar with the literature on sovereignty will still appreciate a number of subtle insights into the relationship between the theoretical and practical aspects of sovereignty. Second, the authors do not attempt to limit and constrain the meanings of sovereignty by providing a reductionist definition. Instead, they offer a coherent account of the meanings ascribed to sovereignty by both political theorists and international policy-makers. By not providing definitive answers, they illustrate the ever-changing character of the sovereign nation-state. The book’s major contribution is not the answers it provides but rather the questions it raises. Fowler and Bunck's framework, which highlights the multiple interpretations and usages of the concept of sovereignty in theory and practice, provides a foundation from which to question further the meanings of sovereign statehood. Given the enduring use of the concept of sovereignty within international relations, the book is a substantial addition to this field of study.”

      U.S. Foreign Policy

      Professor Fowler has taught U.S. foreign policy at the University of Louisville, on Semester-at-Sea, at the University of Colima in Mexico, and in the American Studies Program of the University of the Ryukyus in Japan. He has lectured on topics in American Foreign Policy at Bond University, Australia, and on two occasions at the military university in Ecuador. He is the author of Thinking About Human Rights: Contending Approaches to Human Rights in U.S. Foreign Policy (University Press of America, 1987).

      Historian William Manchester of Wesleyan University wrote of Thinking About Human Rights that Michael Fowler “provides us with the first lucid, comprehensive analysis of the varied approaches to human rights and achieves the highest goal of a profound writer: he makes us make up our own minds.” Kenneth W. Thompson of the University of Virginia observed of this work: “[O]ne of the nation’s emerging intellectual leaders ... provides a full and illuminating account of recent American thought on human rights and a penetrating analysis of the major issues.

      American Law

      A former practicing attorney at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo, P.C., in Boston, Michael Fowler has been admitted to the bars of Massachusetts, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. He taught law at the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville from 1996 to 2003. He is the author of With Justice For All?: The Nature of the American Legal System (Prentice Hall, 1998).

      Henry Abraham of the University of Virginia commented on this book: “A welcome, objective, no-nonsense account  of the American legal system -- where it is and where it ought to be.”

      James W. Govert wrote in The Law and Politics Book Review: “In each chapter, the scholarly bent of the organizing questions and additional research sources is offset nicely by a wealth of practical description and factual material. With Justice For All? successfully blends the Socratic method of the classroom with ‘nuts and bolts’ focus of the law office. The result is a clear and useful introduction to American law and courts that achieves an admirable balance between the concerns of the legal scholar and those of the practicing attorney.”

      Barbara Perry of the White Burkett Miller Center of Public Affairs at Virginia, called it “The textbook version of the proverbial ‘better mousetrap’ ... Just when I thought the definitive text on American law had already been written, along comes With Justice For All? -- an engaging, informative, and compelling analysis of the U.S. legal system.”

      Teaching Areas

      POLS 331 International Organization
      POLS 332 International Law
      POLS 337 Law, Diplomacy, and Power: The Foreign Relations of the US
      POLS 364 World Order
      POLS 506 Coping with Conflict: The North American Experience
      POLS 530 International Negotiation