The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Professor Hartmut Behr

Professor of International Politics



- Habilitation and ,venia legendi’ in Political Science, University
  of Jena, Spring 2003
- PhD (Political Science; minor subjects: North American History and
  Philosophy), University of Cologne, Fall 1996
- M.A. in Political Science; and History; and Sociology, University
  of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Spring 1991
- BA in Political Science, History and Sociology, University of
  Erlangen-Nuremberg, Spring 1988, and Free University of Berlin,
  Spring 1989

Previous Positions

Visiting Profesor, University of Ottawa; Visiting Professor, Department of Political Science, Virginia Tech; University of Erlangen-Nuremberg/Germany, Department of Political Science; University of Jena/Germany, Department of Political Science; University of Cologne/Germany, Department of Political Science and European Questions; Washington DC/USA, Library of Congress; University of Pittsburgh/USA, Department of Political Science and University Center for International Studies UCIS; Tufts University, Medford/Mass./USA, Department of History; University of Tsukuba/Japan, Graduate School for Humanities and Social Sciences, International Relations


English, French, German


The Discipline of International Relations (IR):

·        Sociology of Knowledge

·        Theories of IR & International Political Theory

Politics of Difference and Identity Formation

Political Violence, Reconciliation, and Peace 

International Migration

Critical Geopolitics

Critical European Studies



   (1) "Spaces and Conditions of Critique in International Political Theory"

Critique seems to be a driving force for the development and history of political ideas, concepts, and theories. Yet, the conditions of such critique appear largely under-reflected in International Politics, even though critique is constantly being exerted, sometimes fiercely and empoisoned. This research argues that we find important, though implicit thoughts on conditions of critique in the work of Hans J. Morgenthau, i.e. in his idea of the transience of political theory and knowledge (as it communicates from his reference to Karl Mannheim’s concept of “Standortgebundenheit” [i.e., the temporal and spatial contingencies of political theory and knowledge]). As important and valuable as this insight is, it does not seem to provide the possibility for critique to reflect upon its own conditions, limitations, and formation. Critique a la Morgenthau hence remains at the level of common sense that is argued (as for example by Eric Voegelin) to lack the potential of self-reflectivity and insightful explication of its own development and construction. What seems to be necessary therefore is to supplement “Standortgebundeheit” with the concept of ‘noesis’ (as interpreted by Voegelin).

The question of conditions of critique, developed leaning towards a Morgenthauian understanding of the time- and space contingency of political theory and supplemented with a Voegelinian understanding of ‘noesis’, shall be discussed against the background of Critical Theory (especially H. Marcuse) and the notion of ‘negation’ (resembling the Derridean episteme of ‘erasure’). The idea of a dialectically induced negation of arguments (as ‘thesis’ and ‘anti-thesis’) appears as a radical, but necessary supplement to “Standortgebundenheit” and ‘noesis’.

(2) Politics of Difference and Peace Formation

published May 2014

Politics of Difference - Epistemologies of Peace

with Routledge, Book Series "Global Horizons", ed. by Richard Falk and RBJ Walker

listen to a prodcast (from a lecture at the University of Ottawa, October 2012) on this topic by Prof Behr at 



"Philosophically grounded, Politics of Difference not only produces one of the most compelling critiques of ‘imperial peace’ and its genealogies, but offers with sustained intellectual vigour an original discourse on the ontology of our times.  It is truly a tour de force. "

Mustapha Kamal Pasha, Chair in International Politics, Aberystwyth University

"Hartmut Behr makes a significant contribution to our understanding of fundamental problems centering around our conventional concept of peace. With the help of phenomenological, anti-essentialist thinkers, he reveals that the concept of peace, as deployed in the Western tradition of political and philosophical thought as well as in international politics, is a hegemonic and imperial concept that suppresses and assimilates difference, thus effacing otherness for the sake of the self. He eloquently invites us to a thrilling but serious journey towards reconceptualizing a non-hegemonic peace that is hospitable to difference."

Takashi Kibe, Professor of Political Theory, Director of Peace Research Institute, International Christian University, Tokyo

"Difference has become a significant concern of the study of international politics, and also in peace and conflict studies. Yet, approaches to understanding or incorporating issues of difference into the analysis of international order have often tended to come to rest on essentialising notions of ethnicity or other forms of identity, which also are relegated to a state of lesser importance than westernised notions of secular citizenship, cosmopolitan toleration, and free-flowing capital. This important book engages with the difficult and necessary task of envisioning peace-with-difference in international politics. Without advances in this area, as Professor Behr outlines, difference is destined to undermine order when instead it might be constitutive of peace."

    Prof. Oliver Richmond, University of Manchester

Research Network

Classical Realism Meets Critical Theory: Crises, Modernity and the Return of Humanity

A Leverhulme funded International Research Network in cooperation with Michael C. Williams, Timothy W. Luke, Sean Molloy, Oliver Juetersonke, Felix Roesch, and Vibeke Schou Tjalve

First workshop: 1/2 June 2013, Newcastle, Great North Museum 

Second workshop: 20/21 June 2014, University of Ottawa, Center for International Policy Studies 


Special Issue with International Politics 50 (6), 2013: "Realism Reconsidered: New Contexts and Critiques"

On realism, see also:

HANS MORGENTHAU, The Concept of the Political

This is an edition and first time translation of Hans J. Morgenthau's 1933 monograph on "La concept du politique"; together with Felix Roesch; with a comprehensive introduction, Foreword by Michael C. Williams


Review in the January issue of CHOICE - Current Reviews for Academic Libraries: "This volume presents an English translation of Morgenthau's 1933 essay "The Concept of the Political," along with an introduction by Behr and Roesch. Today, most political scientists are familiar with Morgenthau's 1948 book Politics among Nations, which established him as the father of the realist school of international relations. However, both the constructivist and critical turns in international relations (IR) theory are leading scholars to revisit classic works, now paying attention to the milieus in which they were written, other scholars who may have influenced their thinking, and the language and concepts available to them as they worked. In their essay, Behr and Roesch suggest that Morgenthau's conception of power as articulated in this work is more nuanced, more social, and less belligerent than IR theorists have traditionally described it. They argue that the positivists and behavioralists of the 1950s read Morgenthau's work through their own lenses, leading to field-wide misunderstandings of Morgenthau's ontology of the international system. The work presents a challenging read but is likely to have an impact throughout IR theory. Should be required on reading lists for doctoral comprehensives.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections."

M. B.Manjikian, Robertson School of Government, Regent University, USA

A History of International Political Theory: Ontologies of the International see: 


'Hartmut Behr's A History of International Political Theory: Ontologies of the International is a fascinating critical reconsideration of how generations of political thinkers have appraised the interplay between universal and particular interests among the relations of states in their understandings of "the world" from Western antiquity through the present-day. This richly nuanced and comprehensive analysis of the many epistemological and ontological complexities in disciplined thinking about "international" affairs will be essential reading for anyone wanting to understand how these complexities affect our moral reasoning and political decisions about war and peace, identity and difference, locality and globality as humanity deals with the strategic challenges of the twenty-first century.'

Timothy W. Luke, University Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA

'Taking the relationship between universalism and particularism as his starting point, Behr provides a panoramic historical vision of international political theory. In its attempt to reconstruct a philosophical genealogy of war and peace, and a renewed ethics, this original and remarkably wide-ranging book is as challenging as it is ambitious: it deserves widespread attention across International Relations and beyond.'

Michael C Williams, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa, Canada


"Critical European Studies" with Routledge

"Global Political Thinkers" with Palgrave


Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, The German Marshall Fund, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Alexander of Humboldt Foundation, the German Research Council (DFG), the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the Volkswagen Foundation, the Geschwister Boehringer Foundation (publication awards); Book Awards of the Geschwister Böhringer Foundation for Liberal Arts and Humanities, Ingelheim/Rhein (Germany) for Zuwanderungspolitik im Nationalstaat (PhD thesis/monograph); Entterritoriale Politik (monograph); Saekularisierung und Resakralisierung in westlichen Gesellschaften (edited volume);  several smaller conference and workshop grants


  • Nikolas Stylianou: Critical Security Studies and the Role of Cyprus within the EU
  • Lewis Scott:  Hegemony and the Question of Legitimacy
  • Ben Coulson: US Foreign Politics and Policies of "Otherning"
  • Adam Clark:  Modernization Theory - A Critique of the Critique
  • Xander Kirke: Dramatic Impositions: Political Myth and the European Union's Neighbourhood Policy

Postgraduate supervision (PhD and MA) in: Theories of International Politics; Peace and Violence; Security and Securitisation; Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism; Political Geography and Geopolitics; International Migration; US Foreign Policy; Political Philosophy; Critical Discourses in IR


Undergraduate Teaching

POL 3081 Peace in Political Philosophy and International Relations (1. Semester)
POL 2082 Political Violence and the Modern State (2. Semester)

Postgraduate Teaching

POL 8006 Theories of International Relations (1. Semester)
POL 8044 Critical Geopolitics (co-teaching; 1. Semester)

POL 8051 "Bringing Ethics Back In" .. the Discipline of International Relations (2. Semester)


Weekly Supervision Research Colloquium with UG, PGT, and PhD supervisees (personal invitation)


Teaching of Excellence Award 2014, Research Supervisor of the Year