- Dr Mathias Thaler
- Senior Lecturer in Political Theory; Programme Director International Political Theory
- Room 4.09 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
- +44 (0)131 6515769
- Research Interests
- Genocide, Global justice, Humanitarian intervention, Ideology, International theory, Marxism, Multiculturalism, Reconciliation, Political forgiveness, Democratic theory, Political violence and non-violence, Pragmatism, Critical Theory, Just War theory, Utopia, Dystopia, Art and Politics
Guidance and Feedback Hours
- Monday from 11:15am to 1:15pm (during term time). To arrange a meeting please follow this link: https://calendly.com/mathiasthaler/feedback-and-guidance-hours
Personal website: https://mathiasthaler.com/
My Edinburgh Research Explorer listing can be accessed here.
To follow me on Academia.edu, please go here.
Download my CV from here.
- 2014: Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, University of Edinburgh (UK).
- 2006: PhD, University of Vienna (Austria).
- 2003: MA, University of Vienna (Austria).
Mathias studied for his BA and MA degrees in Vienna and Paris (University of Vienna and Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales); his graduate work was done in Vienna and at the University of California at Berkeley. Mathias' postdoctoral employment involved lengthy periods at the University of Toronto (2006 to 2007) and the Université de Montréal (2010). Most recently, he has spent one term in 2012 at the University of Oxford. Before taking up the Chancellor's Fellowship in Edinburgh, Mathias was, from 2008 to 2012, a Senior Researcher at the Universidade de Coimbra in Portugal.
Teaching and Supervision
Mathias has taught introductory and advanced classes in political theory at several European universities. Recent courses have covered such themes as public reason, toleration, cosmopolitanism, democracy and Just War theory. In Coimbra, Mathias was the coordinator of a PhD core course as well as a regular lecturer in the international MA stream “Roads to Democracy”. Since 2016, Mathias is the Programme Director of the MSc degree International Political Theory. He has also supervised several undergraduate and postgraduate theses at the University of Vienna, and would be happy to supervise more at the University of Edinburgh. Having completed the Edinburgh's Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice in 2014, Mathias is now a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK). Mathias's courses have received numerous EUSA Best Course Teaching Award nominations, and he has personally been nominated several times for the EUSA Best Overall Teacher category.
Mathias' research focuses on political violence and global justice, using as a general framework the philosophy of judgment. He is also interested in normative issues relating to religion in the public sphere. Mathias has also been intrigued by methodological discussions around the critical place of political theorists within democratic societies. A regular referee for some of the leading journals in the profession, he serves as a member of the ESRC Peer Review College. Over the past few years, Mathias has organized internationals conferences, expert workshops and conference panels on topics such as the political theory of citizenship, the philosophy of pragmatism, the polemics around apology politics, democratic agency and the power of the imagination.
For more information on Mathias' research interests, please consult his website, which also includes pre-prints of published work.
- 2018 Naming Violence: A Critical Theory of Genocide, Torture, and Terrorism. New Directions in Critical Theory. New York: Columbia University Press, 2018.
- 2014 On the Uses and Abuses of Political Apologies. Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.* (edited with Mihaela Mihai).
- 2008 Moralische Politik oder politische Moral? Eine Analyse aktueller Debatten zur internationalen Gerechtigkeit. Frankfurt/Main: Campus, 2008.* [Moral Politics or Political Morality? Analyzing Contemporary Debates on Global Justice] Link. Reviewed in: ZPol: Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft (12/3/2008) PDF, Die Furche (3/5/2009) PDF, Die Presse (Spectrum) (3/20/2009) PDF, Das Argument 52, no. 1 (2010): 113.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
- 2018 “Unhinged Frames: Assessing Thought Experiments in Normative Political Theory.” British Journal of Political Science 48, no. 4 (2018): 1119–41. Pre-Print/Pre-Proofread.
- 2018 “Hope Abjuring Hope: On the Place of Utopia in Realist Political Theory.“ Political Theory 46, no. 5 (2018): 671–97. Pre-Print/Pre-Proofread.
- 2018 “Reconciliation through Estrangement.” The Review of Politics 80, no. 4 (2018): 649–73. Pre-Print/Pre-Proofread.
- 2016 “A Pragmatist Defence of the Ban on Torture: From Moral Absolutes to Constitutive Rules of Reasoning.” Political Studies 64, no. 3 (2016): 765–81. Pre-Print/Pre-Proofread.
- 2014 “On Time in Just War Theory: From Chronos to Kairos.” Polity 46, no. 4 (2014): 520–546. Pre-Print/Pre-Proofread.
- 2014 “Political Imagination and the Crime of Crimes: Coming to Terms with ‘Genocide’ and ‘Genocide Blindness’.” Contemporary Political Theory 13, no. 4 (2014), 358-379. Pre-Print/Pre-Proofread.
- 2014 “Neo-Grotian Predicaments: On Larry May’s Theory of International Criminal Law.” Journal of International Political Theory 10, no. 3 (2014): 345–60. Pre-Print/Pre-Proofread
- 2012 “Just Pretending: Political Apologies for Historical Injustice and Vice’s Tribute to Virtue.” Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy15, no. 3 (2012): 259–278. Pre-Print/Pre-Proofread.
- 2011 “Political Judgment Beyond Paralysis and Heroism: Deliberation, Decision and the Crisis in Darfur.” European Journal of Political Theory 10, no. 2 (2011): 225–253. (winner of the Gulbenkian Award 2012). Pre-Print/Pre-Proofread.
- 2010 “How (not What) Shall We Think about Human Rights and Religious Arguments: Public Reasoning and Beyond.” e-cadernos CES, no. 9 (2010): 115–133.
- 2010 “The Illusion of Purity: Chantal Mouffe’s Realist Critique of Cosmopolitanism.” Philosophy & Social Criticism 36, no. 7 (2010): 785–800. Pre-Print/Pre-Proofread.
- 2009 “From Public Reason to Reasonable Accommodation: Negotiating the Place of Religion in the Public Sphere.” Diacrítica: Revista do Centro de Estudos Humanísticos da Universidade de Minho 23, no. 2 (2009): 249–270. Pre-Print/Pre-Proofread.
Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters
- 2016 “Norms, Stories and Ideologies: What We Talk About When We Talk About Political Secularism.” In Multireligious Society: Dealing with Religious Diversity in Theory and Practice, edited by Francisco Colom González and Gianni D’Amato, 29–41. New York: Routledge, 2016. Pre-Print/Pre-Proofread
- 2014 “Introduction.” In On the Uses and Abuses of Political Apologies, edited by Mihaela Mihai and Mathias Thaler, 1–9. Rhetoric, Politics and Society 1. Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. (with Mihaela Mihai). Pre-Print/Pre-Proofread.
- 2012 “Deep Contextualism and Radical Criticism: The Argument for a Division of Labor in Contemporary Political Theory.” In Facts, Values and Objectivity in Economics, edited by José Maria Castro Caldas and Vítor Neves, 138–157. New York: Routledge, 2012.
- 2012 “Filosofia Política.” In Filosofia: Uma Introdução por Disciplinas, edited by Pedro Galvão, 175–213. Extra Coleção 155. Lisbon: Edições 70, 2012. (with João Cardoso Rosas and Iñigo González)
Journal Articles and Book Chapters without Peer Review
- 2017 “A Dialectical View of Prague.” Philosophy & Social Criticism 43, no. 3 (2017): 343–44.
- 2012 “Zwei Begründungsmuster für interkulturelles Philosophieren.” In Perspektiven interkulturellen Philosophierens: Beiträge zur Geschichte und Methodik von Polylogen, edited by Franz Gmainer-Pranzl and Anke Graness, 38–44. Vienna: Facultas, 2012.
- 2011 “Was zeichnet ein politisches Fehlurteil aus? Überlegungen zum Verhältnis von Wahrheit und Politik.” In Urteil und Fehlurteil, edited by Sandra Lehmann and Sophie Loidolt, 269–282. Wien: Turia + Kant, 2011.
- 2011 “Comment on Wilfried Hinsch: Ideal Justice and Rational Dissent: A Critique of Amartya Sen’s Idea of Justice.” Analyse & Kritik 33, no. 2 (2011): 387–393.
- 2016–: Senior Lecturer, Politics and International Relations, University of Edinburgh (UK).
- 2012–2016: Chancellor's Fellow, Politics and International Relations, University of Edinburgh (UK).
- 2008–2012: Senior Researcher ("Investigador Auxiliar"), Centro de Estudos Sociais, Universidade de Coimbra (Portugal).
- 2009–2012: Sessional Lecturer at the Departments of Philosophy of the University of Vienna and the University of Klagenfurt (Austria).
- 2012: Visiting Scholar, Centre for Political Ideologies, University of Oxford (UK).
- 2010: Visiting Scholar, Centre de Recherche en Ethique de l’Université de Montréal (Canada).
- 2007: Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for European Integration Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences.
- 2006–2007: Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto (Canada)
- 2005–2006: Tutor, Department of Philosophy, University of Vienna.
- 2005: Visiting Scholar, Institute for European Studies, UC Berkeley (USA).
- 2004: Junior Visiting Fellow, Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna.
- 2013–2017: "Judging Political Violence: Histories, Norms and Contestations" (financed through the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community). Project website: http://judgepol.sps.ed.ac.uk/ [100,000 EUR]
- 2010–2011: "The Reasonable Accommodation of Minorities: Lessons from Canada (financed through the International Council of Canadian Studies). [10,000 CAD]
Co-Investigator and Team Member
- 2015–2019: “Political Settlements Research Programme” (financed through the UK Department for International Development; PI: Christine Bell, University of Edinburgh). [4.5m GBP]
Selected Grants and Fellowships
- 2013–2017: Marie Curie Career Integration Grant, Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community. [100,000 EUR]
- 2014: Innovation Initiative Grant for the "Democracy Lab", College of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh. [1,500 GBP]
- 2013: Knowledge Exchange Grant, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh (with Jamie Cross). [3,500 GBP]
- 2012: Gulbenkian Award for the best paper published in an international journal in the past two years by a social scientist under the age of 40 (in all fields except Economics) from a Portuguese institution: "Political Judgment Beyond Paralysis and Heroism." European Journal of Political Theory 10, no. 2 (2011): 225–253. [5,000 EUR]
- 2010: Theodor Körner Preis, Theodor Körner Fonds (Austria). [1,500 EUR]
- 2010: Canada-Europe Award, International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS). [10000 CAD]
- 2009: Travel grant, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. [1,500 EUR]
- 2009: Travel grant, Österreichische Forschungsgemeinschaft. [1,500 EUR]
- 2008–2009: Max-Weber-fellowship, European University Institute, Florence (declined). [38,000 EUR]
- 2006–2007: Postdoctoral scholarship, Austrian Ministry of Science, Research and Culture. [55,000 EUR]
- 2003–2005: PhD scholarship, Austrian Academy of Sciences (doc). [48,000 EUR]
Selected Organized Events
- 4/24–4/28/2016, Scuola Normale Superiore, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna and the University of Pisa: organizer (with Mihaela Mihai) of a workshop entitled “Imagining Political Violence”, during the ECPR Joint Sessions 2016.
- 6/24–6/26/2015, University of Edinburgh (UK): organizer (together with Niall Whelehan) of the Summer School “Political Violence: Perspectives from Law, History and Political Theory” with Christine Bell (Edinburgh), Donald Bloxham (Edinburgh), Elizabeth Frazer (Oxford), John Horne (Dublin), Kimberley Hutchings (London) and Manfred Nowak (Vienna).
- 11/27/2014, University of Edinburgh (UK): co-organizer (with five of my undergraduate students) of a panel on teaching and democracy, with (amongst other) David Held (Durham).
- 9/3-6/2014, University of Glasgow (UK): organizer (with Thomas Fossen) of a panel on pragmatist approaches in contemporary political theory, during the ECPR General Conference.
- 6/20/2014, University of Edinburgh (UK): organizer of a workshop on “Spectating and Acting” with Jeffrey Green (Philadelphia), Carol Gould (New York), Mihaela Mihai (York), Andrew Schaap (Exeter) and Neil Walker (Edinburgh).
- 6/9/2013, Science Po Bordeaux (France): organizer (with Mihaela Mihai) of a panel on political judgment with Claudio Corradetti (Oslo), Alessandro Ferrara (Rome) and Linda Zerilli (Chicago), during the ECPR General Conference.
- 5/2–5/3/2013, University of Edinburgh (UK): organizer of two talks by Judith Lichtenberg (Washington, D.C.) and David Luban (Washington, D.C.).
- 2008–2012, Centro de Estudos Sociais, Universidade de Coimbra (Portugal): organizer of the monthly "Tuesday Seminar" series.
- 7/4–7/6/2012, Centro de Estudos Sociais, Lisbon (Portugal): organizer (with Teresa Toldy) of the Summer School “Secularism, Gender and Democracy” with Veit Bader (Amsterdam), Rajeev Bhargava (New Delhi) and Chia Longman (Ghent).
- 1/23–1/26/2012, Centro de Estudos Sociais, Universidade de Coimbra (Portugal): organizer (with Mihaela Mihai and Giuseppe Ballacci) of the "Semana da Filosofia Política" with Alessandro Ferrara (Rome) and Serdar Tekin (Izmir).
- 1/5/2012, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon (Portugal): organizer of a talk by Tariq Ramadan (Paris/Oxford) on "Challenges Facing European Muslims Today".
- 8/26/2011, Reykjavik (Iceland): organizer (with Mihaela Mihai) of a panel on the relationship between democracy and memory, during the ECPR General Conference
- 6/3–5/2011, Centro de Estudos Sociais, Universidade de Coimbra (Portugal): scientific coordinator of the international conference "Challenging Citizenship" with, amongst, others, James Tully (Victoria), Simone Chambers (Toronto), Rainer Bauböck (Florence) and Rajeev Bhargava (New Delhi).
Administrative and Management Duties
- 2016–: Politics and International Relations, University of Edinburgh: Programme Director of the MSc degree International Political Theory.
- 2015–2016 : Politics and International Relations, University of Edinburgh: member of the PhD scholarship committee.
- 2014–: University of Edinburgh: Deputy Director of the University’s Global Justice Academy.
- 2012–: University of Edinburgh: member of the Steering Committee of the University’s Global Justice Academy.
- 2015: University of Edinburgh: member of hiring committees for five positions at the Law School, within the Political Settlements project (PI: Christine Bell).
- 2010–2012: Centro de Estudos Sociais, Universidade de Coimbra: co-coordinator of the academic observatory POLICREDOS (Politics of Cultural and Religious Diversity in Southern Europe).
- 2009–2012: Centro de Estudos Sociais, Universidade de Coimbra: vice-president of the General Assembly of Researchers.
Topics interested in supervising
I am interested in supervising projects within the following fields of research: - Contemporary political theory; - History of political thought; - Democratic theory; - Political violence. - Utopianism. If you are interested in having me as your PhD supervisor, please check out our departmental webpage where we (political theorists) outline what we have to offer and what we expect from prospective PhD students: http://politicaltheory.sps.ed.ac.uk/ This webpage is very helpful in preparing the proposal: http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/applying/research-proposals In case you are unsure as to whether I am the right person to serve as your supervisor, feel free to contact me via email with a short summary of your project as well as a recent CV.
If you are interested in being supervised by Mathias Thaler, please see the links below for more information: