James received his B.A. in Honours History at the University of Western Ontario in 1978. Here he received the Maude Gordon and IODE Awards, along with a spot on the Dean’s Honours List. In 1984, he received his Ph.D in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park.
James’ first positions were as lecturer in Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park, and as an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of Manitoba. After receiving his Ph.D in 1984, he worked at McGill University as an Assistant and then Associate Professor of Political Science from 1984 to 1991. From here, James served as a Professor of Political Science at Florida State University from 1991 to 1994. From 1994 until 1998, James served as the chair of the Political Science Department at Iowa State University, then as Professor of Political Science from 1999 to 2001. He then served as Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri from 2001 until 2004. At the same university, James became the Frederick A. Middlebush Professor of Political Science from 2004 to 2005. Since 2005, he has been Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California, as well as the Director of the Center for International Studies. He is extremely well-liked by students in the School of International Relations.
James has taught in several other fields over the course of his professional life. These fields include International Relations, Comparative Politics, Rational Choice, and Empirical Methods. James specialized in fields such as conflict, crisis and war, Canadian politics, collective action, expected utility and game theory, and research design and statistics.
James has 333 citations of his published works from 1985 to 2003, including books, symposia, articles, chapters in books, reviews, miscellaneous entries, manuscripts, and conference papers and presentations.
(with Annette Freyberg-Inan and Ewan Harrison, eds.) Rethinking Realism in International Relations: Between Tradition and Innovation. (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, forthcoming, 2008).
(with Mark Kasoff, eds.) Canadian Studies in the New Millennium (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, forthcoming, 2007).
(with Nelson Michaud Marc O’Reilly, eds.) Handbook of Canadian Foreign Policy (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2006).
(with David Carment and Zeynep Taydas) Who Intervenes? Ethnic Conflict and Interstate Crisis. (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 2006).
(with Seung-Whan Choi) A New Quest for International Peace: Civil-Military Dynamics, Political Communications and Democracy. (New York, NY: Palgrave, 2005).
International Relations and Scientific Progress: Structural Realism Reconsidered (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 2002).
(with Donald E. Abelson and Michael Lusztig, eds.) The Myth of the Sacred: The Charter, the Courts and the Politics of the Constitution in Canada (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s Press, 2002).
(with David Goetze, eds.) Evolutionary Theory and Ethnic Conflict (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2001).
(with David Carment, eds.) Peace in the Midst of Wars: Preventing and Managing International Ethnic Conflicts (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1998).
(with David Carment, eds.) Wars in the Midst of Peace: The International Politics of Ethnic Conflict (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997).
(with William James Booth and Hudson Meadwell, eds) Politics and Rationality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).
Crisis and War (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1988).
(with Michael Brecher) Crisis and Change in World Politics (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1986).
Articles and book chapters
He has published over 75 articles in peer-reviewed journals a number of book chapters, and a great many book reviews, conference presentations, lectures, and other items.