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Politics and International Relations (PIR): People


Mathias Thaler

Mathias Thaler
Dr Mathias Thaler
Senior Lecturer in Political Theory; Co-Director of Research for the School of Social and Political Science; Research Convener for Politics and International Relations
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

  • During term, my office hours are from 15:00 to 17:00 on Thursday. Please sign up here to book a slot:

Personal website

My Edinburgh Research Explorer listing can be accessed here.

To follow me on, please go here.

Download my CV from here.

Mathias Thaler is Senior Lecturer in Political Theory at the University of Edinburgh. His main research interest is in contemporary political theory. He is about to begin work on a project analyzing the utopian dimensions in current debates around climate change.

For more information on Mathias' research interests, please consult his website, which also includes pre-prints of published work.

Selected Publications


Edited Books

  • 2020 Political Violence and the Imagination: Complicity, Memory and Resistance. Abingdon/New York: Routledge, 2020. (edited with Mihaela Mihai).
  • 2014 On the Uses and Abuses of Political Apologies. Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. (edited with Mihaela Mihai).

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters

Journal Articles and Book Chapters without Peer Review

Academic Positions

  • 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.

Research Projects

Principal Investigator

  • 2013–2017: "Judging Political Violence: Histories, Norms and Contestations" (financed through the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community). Project website:
  • 2010–2011: "The Reasonable Accommodation of Minorities: Lessons from Canada (financed through the International Council of Canadian Studies).

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

  • 2020: Leverhulme Research Fellowship.
  • 2019: SSSHARC International Fellowship, University of Sydney.
  • 2019: RIPPLE Annual Visiting Fellowship, KU Leuven.
  • 2013–2017: Marie Curie Career Integration Grant, Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community.
  • 2014: Innovation Initiative Grant for the "Democracy Lab", College of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh.
  • 2013: Knowledge Exchange Grant, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh (with Jamie Cross). 
  • 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. 
  • 2010: Theodor Körner Preis, Theodor Körner Fonds (Austria). [1,500 EUR]
  • 2010: Canada-Europe Award, International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS). 
  • 2009: Travel grant, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.
  • 2009: Travel grant, Österreichische Forschungsgemeinschaft.
  • 2008–2009: Max-Weber-fellowship, European University Institute, Florence (declined).
  • 2006–2007: Postdoctoral scholarship, Austrian Ministry of Science, Research and Culture.
  • 2003–2005: PhD scholarship, Austrian Academy of Sciences (doc).

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: This webpage is very helpful in preparing the proposal: 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:

PhD in Politics; MSc (R) Political Theory; MSc (R) Politics