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Christian Reus-Smit

Professor of International Relations

('Professor Reus-Smit will leave the EUI in December 2012 to take up a Chair at the University of Queensland)

Christian ReusSmit

Tel. [+39] 055 4685 272 / 244

Email[email protected] 

Secretary/Administrative Assistant:  [email protected]

Office: BF 261, Badia Fiesolana
Office hours: Thursday afternoon 2-5. Please send him an email to arrange an appointment


Address: EUI SPS Department

Via dei Roccettini 9

50014 San Domenico di Fiesole (FI)


Short Biography

Chris Reus-Smit took up the position of Professor of International Relations in September 2010. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1995, and has been awarded fellowships and grants by the MacArthur Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Australian Research Council, and the Social Science Research Council in New York, the Rockefeller Foundation, the European University Institute, and the British Academy.

He is author of American Power and World Order (Polity 2004) and The Moral Purpose of the State (Princeton 1999), co-author of Theories of International Relations (Macmillan/Palgrave 2001, 2005, 2009), editor of The Politics of International Law (Cambridge 2004), and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of International Relations (Oxford 2008); Resolving International Crises of Legitimacy (Special Issue International Politics 2007), and Between Sovereignty and Global Governance (Macmillan 1998).

His articles have appeared in a wide range of journals, including International Organization, Review of International Studies, Millennium, and The European Journal of International Relations. His work has been awarded both the BISA Prize (2001) and the Northedge Prize (1992).

He is currently co-editor (with Nicholas Wheeler) of the Cambridge Studies in International Relations books series. From 2001 until August 2010 Professor Reus-Smit was Head of the Department of International Relations at the Australian National University. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 2008.  

Fields of Research and Supervision

International relations theory, international history, the politics of international law, the theory and development of international institutions, culture and international relations, international ethics, theories of power and legitimacy, the United States in World Politics, human rights in the development of the international system, and the application of social and political theory to the study of world politics

Current Research Projects

Professor Reus-Smit is currently completing two book projects. The first explores the role that struggles for individual rights played in the expansion of the modern international system, arguing that the politics of such rights has a longer history, and has had a deeper impact on the system’s development, than is commonly assumed. The second, co-authored with Mlada Bukovansky, Ian Clark, Robyn Eckersley, Richard Price, and Nicholas Wheeler, examines the nature and function of special responsibilities in world politics. The co-authors seek to clarify what special responsibilities are, why they are defined, allocated, and appropriated in international societies, and how the distribution of such responsibilities affects the constitution of social power. Upon completion of these books, Professor Reus-Smit plans to pursue two new projects. He hopes to write a short book that will explore the interrelationship between the changing nature of International Relations as a field of study and ‘international relations’ as a domain of social and political practice. And he plans a larger project on the role that micro-foundations (such as the struggle for power, the security imperative, utility maximization, and the desire for recognition) play in structuring theories of international relations. While theorists generally privileged one of these micro-foundations, Professor Reus-Smit is interested in their interrelationship and the implications this has for theory building and theoretical debate in the field.

Key Publications

Special Responsibilities: Global problems and American power, 2012, Bukovansky, Mlada; Clark, Ian; Eckersley, Robyn; Price, Richard; Reus-Smit, Christian; Wheeler, Nicholas J., Cambridge UP

Negotiating Anglo-America: Australia, Canada, and the United States, Pauly, Louis W.; Reus-Smit, Christian, 2012, in Peter J. KATZENSTEIN (ed.), Anglo-America and Its Discontents: Civilizational Identities Beyond West and East, Abingdon/London/New York, Routledge,, 127-151

International Relations, Irrelevant? don’t blame theory, 2012, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 2012, 40, 3, 525–540

Obligation through Practice, International Theory, 2011, 3, 2, 339–347

On Rights and Institutions’, in Charles Beitz and Robert Goodin, Global Basic Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

'Reuniting Ethics and Social Science: The Oxford Handbook of International Relations', Ethics & International Affairs, 22(3) 2008: 261–71 (co-authored with Duncan Snidal).

'Reading History Through Constructivist Eyes', Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 37(2) 2008: 395–414.

The Oxford Handbook of International Relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008 (co-edited with Duncan Snidal).

'Special Issue: Resolving International Crises of Legitimacy', International Politics, 44(2–3) 2007 (co-edited with Ian Clark).

'Liberal Hierarchy and the Licence to Use Force', Review of International Studies, 31(SI) 2005: 71–92.

Theories of International Relations, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001, 2005, 2009 (co-authored with Scott Burchill, Jack Donnelly, Richard Devetak, Andrew Linklater, Terry Nardin, Matthew Paterson and Jacqui True).

American Power and World Order. Cambridge, MA: Polity Press, 2004.

The Politics of International Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004 (editor).

'Human Rights and the Social Construction of Sovereignty', Review of International Studies, 27(4) 2001: 519–38 (awarded the BISA Prize).

The Moral Purpose of the State: Culture, Social Identity, and Institutional Rationality in International Relations. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.


Theories of International Relations (Autumn 2012)

Rights in Political Theory and International Relations (with Rainer Bauböck) (Spring 2012

Theories of International Relations (Autumn 2011)

Individual Rights & World Politics (Spring 2011)

International Relations Theory (Autumn 2010)



Page last updated on 04 June 2020

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