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Jeffrey T. Checkel

Full-time Professor

Department of Political and Social Sciences

Contact info

[email protected]

[+39] 055 4685 231


Villa Sanfelice, SF002

Office hours

Mondays, 12.00-14.00

Administrative contact

Pia Dittmar

Working languages


Curriculum vitae

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EUI Publications Repository

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Jeffrey T. Checkel

Full-time Professor

Department of Political and Social Sciences


Jeffrey T. Checkel joined the Department of Political and Social Sciences in January 2020, as Chair in International Politics, moving from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, where he held the Simons Chair in International Law and Human Security. He had previously taught at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Oslo.
After a first degree from Cornell University in applied physics, Checkel received a PhD in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A consistent theme in his scholarship has been to bridge divides of discipline, epistemology, and subfield. After a start in Sovietology and arms control, Checkel turned to the study of institutions and norms; to European politics and identity; to transnationalism, civil wars and political violence; and - most recently - to international institutions and the populist backlash against them.
Checkel's research interests include international relations theory (domestic-international linkages, international institutions, constructivism, governance), conflict studies (civil war), European integration (Europeanization, identity) and qualitative methods (process tracing, bridging positivist-interpretive techniques).
He has published broadly on these topics, including four books from Cambridge University Press and one volume from Yale University Press. At EUI, he offers seminars on international-relations theory; civil wars; the liberal order and identity politics; international institutions; qualitative methods; and philosophies of social science.

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Additional information

Institutions at Bay? Regional Integration and Identity. Identity politics are back, and often paired with a rejection of the norms and institutions of the liberal order. Economics and power are insufficient to explain today’s illiberal and nativist trend. To understand this phenomenon, we need to explore the interplay between local and national identities and the broader senses of community which international institutions and regional organizations (ROs) promote. Drawing on both political science and social anthropology, the project argues that international institutions do shape identity, but this process is mediated by local politics, daily experiences, and articulated beliefs.

Our theory-building explores these identity and community building dynamics across a diverse set of cases in three regions: Europe and the European Union, with a focus on Germany; Africa and the Africa Union, considering the Republic of South Africa; and Asia and the Association of South-East Asian Nations, examining Singapore.

The project harnesses an interdisciplinary set of theories and methods to understand better the practices and mechanisms through which identities change, and the role RO’s play in this process. From political science and international relations, we draw upon institutional theory, process tracing and standard interview methods; from social anthropology, we utilize practice theory, ethnography and interpretive interviewing. This epistemological, theoretical and methodological pluralism is the project’s backbone – one that results in new theory for explaining identity and identity change in today’s globalized yet increasingly inward-looking world.

Our findings will provide novel insights on the tools and policies that RO’s and states can mobilize to counter the populist backlash against the institutions of the liberal order. These institutions are indeed increasingly ‘at bay’ – be it over the global economy, climate change or identity. To reverse or at least slow this trend, we must first understand it.

This project is funded by EUI's Research Council and included in the Institute's Research Hub.



Google Scholar (June 2023): Publications = 99; Citations = 21,980; h-index = 43; i10-index = 59.

"Process Tracing and International Political Economy," in Jon Pevehouse and Leonard Seabrooke, Editors, Oxford Handbook of International Political Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021 - Author

“Methods in Constructivist Approaches,” in Alexandra Gheciu and William Wohlforth, Editors, Oxford Handbook of International Security. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018 - Author

"Socialization and Violence,” Special Issue of Journal of Peace Research Vol.54, No.5 (September 2017) - Editor

“Socialization and Violence: Introduction and Framework,” Journal of Peace Research Vol.54, No.5 (September 2017) - Author

Process Tracing: From Metaphor to Analytic Tool. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015 – Co-editor and Author

"Identity Politics and Deep Contestations of the Liberal International Order: The Case of Europe". Paper presented at “Conversations with Companions: Celebrating the Scholarship of Thomas Risse,” Authors’ Workshop, Free University Berlin, 2-3 June 2023

"International Institutions and Identity". Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (Montreal, Quebec), 15-18 March 2023

"Process Tracing - Towards a New Research Agenda". Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Political Science Association (Seattle, Washington), 29 September - 3 October 2021

“Democracy and Peace in Europe: What Went Wrong?” Keynote Address, Swiss Summer School in Democracy Studies, University of Zuerich, September 2023

“Domestic Politics and Peace … or Conflict? The Soviet Union in 1991 and Russia Today,” Swiss Summer School in Democracy Studies, University of Zuerich, September 2023

“Process Tracing - Between Broadening and Deepening,” Methods Seminar, Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford, May 2023

“Identity and (International) Institutions,” Berlin Social Science Center (WZB), December 2019

“Institutions at Bay? Rethinking the Connection between International Institutions and Identity,” University of Potsdam, December 2019

“Research on Norms: Thinking beyond Institutions,” Keynote Address, Conference on “Liberal Biases in IR Norms Research,” University of Giessen, December 2019

“Social Science in an Era of Transparency,” Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam, November 2019

Associate Editor, Journal of Peace Research

Associate Editor, International Relations Theory, Cambridge Elements Series, Cambridge University Press

Member, Editorial Board, Journal of International Relations and Development

European University Institute


Seminars and Workshops (External)

At EUI, I run and coordinate four working groups.

IR Theory Working Group - I run this group, which meets every two weeks during the academic year; it is for researchers and post-doctoral fellows working with me. We utilize it as a forum for presentations of work-in-progress (prospectuses, thesis chapters, drafts of conference papers); discussing current trends and controversies in IR theory, be they over ethics, data, meta-theory, theory or method; and critically evaluating arguments in the literature (journal articles, book chapters). The focus is on helping researchers and fellows make better arguments in their projects; skill building; and a bit of professional socialization. For more information, click here.

Qualitative and Fieldwork Working Group - This Working Group is a student-led knowledge exchange and community hub for researchers, post-doctoral fellows and faculty members with an interest in fieldwork, ethnography, interviewing and qualitative methodology more broadly. It serves as a forum to learn about, debate and discuss different aspects of fieldwork as well as to learn from each other’s experiences and practices. I am the mentoring professor for the Group, which meets regularly during the academic year. For more information, click here.

International Relations Working Group - I am the mentoring professor for this group, which is run by PhD researchers. It is a critical - but collegial - forum where researchers working on international relations broadly defined get feedback on their work.  The group also sponsors lectures and seminars with leading IR scholars, including Dr. Ayse Zarakol, Prof. Robert Keohane and Prof. Christian Reus-Smit. Members come from across the EUI community - Political and Social Sciences, other departments, as well as the Schuman Centre. Its website can be found here

The Legal and Political Theory Working Group - Martijn Hesselink and I are the mentoring professors for this group, which is again run by PhD researchers. It provides both established academics and researchers an opportunity to discuss and improve their theoretically-oriented work. One of the group’s most cherished traits is its openness. If your work deals with any strand of legal or political theory, or you simply think that your research will benefit from theoretical insights, this group is for you! For more details, click here

I welcome PhD proposals on a broad range of topics.

In terms of IR theory, I am especially interested in new theories built on inter-disciplinary grounds or that cut across epistemological boundaries. While I have long-standing interests in constructivism, I am equally at home working with other theoretical schools.

Aside from IR, I welcome projects on peace & conflict studies (rebel group mobilization, international interventions, civil wars), international institutions and organizations (governance, domestic-international linkages, legitimacy), identity politics, and European integration.

Methodologically, I can advise best on qualitative methods, but am open to other approaches. Whatever the method chosen - qualitative, quantitative, mixed, positivist or interpretive - the goal is for students to master a set of techniques that can be used in an operational, applied and ethically-sound way to explain-understand-critique the world around us.

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