The COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to refocus scholarly attention on the politics of crisis. Crises that abruptly upend political and economic relations are important and increasing in frequency. However, the division of international relations into international political economy (IPE) and international security has contributed to the relative neglect of non-militarized crises like pandemics. Crises are defined by threat, uncertainty, and time pressure: understanding them requires a careful examination of how these variables affect political and economic outcomes. Drawing on often disparate literatures on finance, energy and climate change, natural disasters, pandemics, and violent conflict, I propose a broad research program around the politics of crisis, focusing on puzzles related to causes, responses, and transformations.