Maurits van der Veen joined William & Mary's Government department in 2010. He served as Chair of the International Relations Program at W&M from 2018-2020.
His research examines the various ways policy-makers and publics think about ("frame") foreign policy issues, and the impact that different frames, in turn, have on actual policy choices. He has applied this approach to the study of foreign aid policy in Western Europe and the United States, the politics of European integration and EU enlargement, media coverage of migrants and minorities, and the terminology used to describe massive human rights violations (what happens if you refuse to call a genocide a genocide?). As a computational social scientist, he is particularly interested in measuring different aspects of beliefs and attitudes in texts, ranging from legislative debates to newspapers to social media.
His book Covering Muslims: American Newspapers in Comparative Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2022, with Erik Bleich) couples big data analysis of more than 1.6 million articles with readings of individual texts. It conclusively shows the striking negativity in coverage of Muslims across time, country, and topics, as well as compared to groups as diverse as Catholics, Jews, Hindus, African Americans, Latinos, Mormons, and atheists. It introduces the concept of “tone-checking” the media to inhibit the marginalization of vulnerable groups in our societies.
His first book, Ideas, Interests, and Foreign Aid (Cambridge University Press, 2011) argues that no two foreign aid donors see the purpose of their aid programs in the same way. Moreover, the way they conceive of that purpose has shaped aid policy choices past and present. Since 2016 he has directed the STAIR lab at William & Mary (Systematic Text Analysis for International Relations).